California Drought Report #77: Some relief but more snow needed

The California Weather Blog has this assessment:

Season-to-date assessment: drought relief across much of CA, but more needed

As we near the end of 2016, just how has California fared over the past several months in the midst of a deeply entrenched, multi-year drought? The answer: pretty well, especially in the Northern Sierra. Season-to-date precipitation as of late December remains well above average in far northern reaches of the state–including many of the watersheds that contribute the lion’s share of California’s water supply. Further south, conditions have not been nearly as wet. The Bay Area has seen slightly above average precipitation, and much of Southern California is still below average to date (although recent and unexpectedly significant precipitation courtesy of a cutoff low have bolstered totals near Los Angeles and San Diego).

Temperatures have so far not been quite as warm as in recent winters, although in most spots they have still been well above the long-term average. In fact, despite abundant precipitation in the northern Sierra Nevada, snow water equivalent throughout California is running considerably behind typical late December values due to these relatively warm mountain conditions. This has been especially true on the lower slopes, which are generally closer to the freezing line and are more sensitive to smaller variations in temperature.

All in all, the season-to-date perspective is one that paints a fairly optimistic picture from a short-term drought alleviation perspective. In the longer term, lingering multi-year precipitation deficits (especially in the south) and the ongoing statewide “snow drought” mean that drought conditions will still persist throughout much of California through the rest of the rainy season–although with reduced severity relative to peak conditions a couple of years ago.

It looks like more snow is on the way, some low altitude.  The first snow survey will come right after the first of the year. It will show a deficit for this time of the year.

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About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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One Response to California Drought Report #77: Some relief but more snow needed

  1. Russ says:

    LA Times: California braces for ‘once-in-10-year’ storm amid fears of flooding, avalanches, blizzards

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-atmospheric-river-prepare-20170105-story.html

    Like

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