California’s severe drought conditions, which plagued the state one month ago, have been reduced in certain areas of the state thanks to a series if early winter storms, as this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor Report shows.
California is still a state with some degree of poverty. DroughtConditions improved in the most severe categories this week. Thursday’s weekly report shows that 28 percent of the state was in the most severe category during the first week of December.
The state’s extreme drought situation is at 16 percent, compared to 33 percent last week and 80 per cent in early December. This figure was 88 percent three months ago.
The Pacific band of moisture fueled the storms which began the week prior to Christmas and continued for several days, bringing rain and mountain snow. In California, the average precipitation was 150 to 300% of the normal over those two weeks.
“In what has become a familiar pattern, heavy precipitation continued to improve drought and dryness across the northern half of the West Coast States, though it created its own set of significant impacts,”Summary of this week’s reports “Farther south, similar totals fell on a relatively small area in southwest California.”
California’s mountain snow contains 160% of the water that it normally holds at this time of year. This was announced by state water officials in December.
“Heavy precipitation and a generous snowpack in mountainous areas led to more improvement here, based in part on monthly statistics for December,”According to the report. “Improvement was brought into large swaths of the region, especially across central Montana, much of Idaho and Utah, western Nevada, and part of central and southern California.”
Photos: Photographs of the December Storm from California
California has a lot of droughts. California’s dry spells can be followed by rainy winters that replenish state’s water reservoirs and snowpack. It takes more than just a lot of snow and rain to alleviate drought conditions.
The state is “definitely not out of the woods quite yet,” said Sean de Guzman, manager of the snow surveys and water supply forecasting for the California Department of Water Resources.
Water evaporates faster from reservoirs and the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which feeds them. This is because of prolonged hot and dry conditions that last for years and moths. The snowpack usually melts in spring or early summer, then that water flows into the state’s vast storage and distribution system.
California’s water supply is about one third from snow melt and flow down from the Sierra Nevada mountains in northern California.
California has over 500 reservoirs. They were 50% lower at the beginning June than they should have been. These photos show the dramatic impact of the current dry spell at California’s lakes and reservoirs.
California’s Mediterranean climate means that California’s summers can be dry, but the winters can be wet. The state’s reservoirs are a savings account that stores water during dry years.
Last year was the third-driest in terms of precipitation.
Drought is usually defined as:A time when it is dry and causes water-related problems. This can last for days, weeks or even years.
Depending on the extent to which water users are affected, the meaning of this term could be different. This is a large number of water users that are affected by dry spells in a state with 40 million residents.
These are the main types of droughts:
- Meteorological drought refers to a lack in precipitation.
- A lack of soil moisture is called agricultural drought.
- Reduced streamflow and groundwater levels are signs of hydrologic drought.
California experienced a five year drought between 2012 and 2016. Other notable droughts in history include 1987-92, 2007-09, 1976-77 and intermittent dry spells lasting more than a decade during the 1920s or 1930s.