Wet Enough For Ya? California Precip Makes Sprint for the Finish Line

The rainy weather has helped, but the state’s still in deficit for the year

Heavy rain flooded the parking lot at San Francisco's Ocean Beach over the weekend.

California’s water supply is in better shape after this weekend’s storms and the wet weather earlier in the month (though the parking lot at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach is in worse shape). The water content of California’s snowpack is hovering around fifty percent of what’s considered “normal” for this time of year — not quite cause for celebration but much better than it had been; on February 28, the date of the most recent manual snow survey, water content was only 30% of normal.

So this winter isn’t going to be the driest on record, or even the second-driest, but it’s bound to be on the dry side, regardless of what happens now. It’s just too late in the year to catch up, even with more storms heading our way this week.

In Northern California, this year, shown in pink, was dragging along near the driest years on record, but precipitation has been better in the last month.

So far, Northern California’s had more precipitation than the Southland but the National Weather Service is forecasting more widespread rain and snow beginning tonight.

In Southern California, precipitation is at 55% of normal for this time of year.

Most of the state’s reservoirs are near normal levels for this time of year — some are even above normal — thanks to the very wet winter last year.

The upcoming “April 1st” snow survey (actually scheduled for next Monday, the 2nd), is closely watched, as this is the time when the Sierra snowpack generally reaches its peak.

Wet Enough For Ya? California Precip Makes Sprint for the Finish Line 1 February,2018Molly Samuel


Molly Samuel

Molly Samuel joined KQED as an intern in 2007, and since then has worked here as a reporter, producer, director and blogger. Before becoming KQED Science’s Multimedia Producer, she was a producer for Climate Watch. Molly has also reported for NPR, KALW and High Country News, and has produced audio stories for The Encyclopedia of Life and the Oakland Museum of California. She was a fellow with the Middlebury Fellowships in Environmental Journalism and a journalist-in-residence at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center. Molly has a degree in Ancient Greek from Oberlin College and is a co-founder of the record label True Panther Sounds.

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