Having gone through six years of drought conditions, Northern California has experienced some relief as a result of a number of storms but Southern California has not.
Southern California has had the lowest rainfall on record with this month seeing only about 60 percent of normal rainfall in this month. Contrarily, some areas in the North have received about double or triple the normal average this month.
This pattern is familiar from last year, with the expectations then that El Nino would drench the South in rain but veered to the North instead, covering the mountain to the North with snow and missing the South completely.
According to a hydrologist from the National Weather Service, Reginal Kennedy, the only hope is that winter will see more rain in the south. Whether that will happen is impossible to say as indicators have been difficult to interpret.
Precipitation that falls in Northern California has an essential role to play when it comes to drought relief because the major reservoirs and dams for the state are situated there. The water flows from there to most of the rest of the state. Whilst it is important for there to be rain in the south, it will not feed the water supply for the whole state.
Since the 1st of October, communities from the border of Oregon to the Bay Area have received a record amount of rain. Gasquet, for example, has received over 18 inches of rain just this month alone.
Because of this rainfall, The Northwest of California has been reclassified as normal in terms of drought conditions. It is this first time since 2013 that this has happened. Despite this change, it has been noted that there is still a great need for precipitation to continue in order to help the area reverse the effects of the drought.
According to a spokesman for the Department of Water Resources, El Nino did exactly the opposite of what it was thought it would do.
Again, according to a spokesman for the Department of Water Resources, it was a good start for the north but, as you move south, you start to see that some reservoirs are as low as 7 percent.
More rainfall would definitely be useful. In the past couple of years, the residents of the state have done their part by removing lawns, using appliances that are water-efficient, etc. That said, with the water restrictions easing recently, people have been getting more careless with water.
Across the state, urban dwellers have only reduced consumption by 17.7% this August when compared August 2013. In the same month in 2015, this was increased to 27 percent.
The north can expect more rain in higher concentrations in early November.
Government departments who need to draw on the precipitation for this year for water requirements might even be looking at 60 percent of what they require and so a lot more than what it was projected that they would get.
It’s important not to get over-confident because of this – long-term we are looking at a tough time when it comes to rainfall. Take El Nino in the last year, for example – we thought that the South would get the rain but it didn’t.
Because of the good rainfall recently, the firefighting agencies in the north have begun the process of reducing its numbers.
The same cannot be said for the south because of the combination of heavy winds, low levels of humid and high heat made for high risk fire conditions. The Santa Ana winds are often the driving force behind sweeping wildfires.
South California can expect a good amount of rain this week but it won’t do much to relieve the drought.
Predictions of up to an inch are expected in the mountains of Los Angeles County but the overall prospect for the county is uncertain. It is believed that there may be some heavy storms.
Should the heavy rains expected materialize, flash-floods could be a problem and that is something the Department of Weather is most concerned about when it comes to the upcoming system.