Monday, March 06, 2017

Update: It Does Rain in California!

by Bill McBride on 3/06/2017 11:22:00 AM

California has endured a five year drought, but for much of the state, the drought is over.

Here are a few resources to track the rain and snow.

These tables show the snowpack in the North, Central and South Sierra. Currently the snowpack is about 153% of normal for this date in the North, 189% of normal in the Central Sierra, and 197% of normal in the Southern Sierra.

And here are some plots comparing the current and previous years to the average, a very dry year ('14-'15) and a wet year ('82-'83). This winter is well above the average and close to the record winter of '82-'83 in the Central and Southern Sierra.

And for Los Angeles, here is a historical table of annual rainfall. After five years of significantly below average rainfall, this year is well above normal. On average, there is about 11" of rain through February in LA (rain is measured July through June). This year, LA has received over 18" of rain through February.

This is good news for the state and the state economy.

Tyndall CreekFor Pacific Crest Trail and John Muir Trail hikers, I recommend using the Upper Tyndall Creek sensor to track the snow conditions. This graph shows the snow water content for Upper Tyndall Creek for the last 40 years. Note: I hiked the trail in September 1998 - a very wet year - and there was snow all year on Mt. Whitney.

There were four very dry years in a row, and then last winter was a little better - but still below normal.

For the Tyndall Creek area, this is the wettest year since 1998, and it is still early March!