California drought eases due to storms dumping snow and rain

February 2, 2017 by Ellen Knickmeyer And Rich Pedroncelli
In this Jan. 3, 2017, file photo, Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program for the Department of Water Resources, plunges the survey tube into the snowpack as he conducts the first snow survey of the season at Phillips Station near Echo Summit, Calif. Nothing but good news is expected when California does its next regular Sierra snow surveys after last month's huge storms. The state snow survey on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, is important because California gets about a third of its water from Sierra runoff in typical years. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Roaring storms that brought California almost a year's worth of snow and rain in a single month should make state water managers' Sierra snowpack survey Thursday a celebration, marking this winter's dramatic retreat of the state's more than 5-year-drought, water experts say.

Typically, snowfall in the Sierra Nevada mountains during winter storms provide a third of the state's water through the year, as the drifts melt. In January, back-to-back-to-back storms from the tropics that each dropped a hurricane's worth of water on the state have put the state at 108 percent of its normal rain and snow for the year, with two months still left in the rainy season, said Michael Dettinger, a hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey.

California had received just one-fourth of a normal year's precipitation when January started, he said. The storm systems, known as atmospheric rivers, "caught us all off guard, how many came in so quickly, and turned everything around," Dettinger said.

January's storms lifted the northern half of the state out of drought. This time last year, 95 percent of California was in drought, after the driest three-year stretch in the state's history.

In April of 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown stood in a Sierra meadow bare of its usual snow to declare a drought emergency in California, and ordered mandatory water conservation in cities and towns. Surveyors with the state Department of Water Resources will return to the meadows Thursday with rods to measure the depth of the snowpack so far this winter.

State water officials, who lifted the statewide conservation mandate as the drought eased, say Brown's administration likely will wait for a final seasonal snow survey in April before deciding whether to officially end the state drought emergency.

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geokstr
1 / 5 (2) Feb 05, 2017
But the really important thing is the snail darter and furbish lousewort populations skyrocketed during the "drought" the socialist government of CA did everything it could to exacerbate. To hell with those bankrupted farmers in central CA, the former breadbasket of the nation, those damn toothless, inbred rednecks probably voted for Republicans anyway. Now their arid land can be expropriated and covered with solar panels and giant fans.

And the grass in the huge celebrity estates was always lush in the "drought" too, so all was good for DiCaprio and his ilk.
gkam
1 / 5 (4) Feb 05, 2017
gerstrkr refers to the West Side Farmers who are not farmers but corporations owned by millionaires living in other places. They get subsidized water meant for single-family farms, sucking off earnings of the working man. When the ground is permanently salted up, as it is getting, they will walk away from the disaster and write it off as a loss so they can dodge the taxes on the profits they got from ruining the land.

Look up how many Ag subsidy checks are sent to Fifth Avenue New York. Really, you can find it out.
gkam
1 / 5 (4) Feb 05, 2017
Instead of sniping about the furbish lousewort perhaps you can help us keep the rising Pacific Ocean out of said Central Valley. It used to be a huge marsh, as little as a hundred-fifty years ago, and now salt water intrusion is a real danger.

Agribusiness has sucked so much water out of the ground, it has sunk several tens of feet.
unrealone1
1 / 5 (1) Feb 10, 2017
bschott
1 / 5 (1) Feb 10, 2017
Instead of sniping about the furbish lousewort perhaps you can help us keep the rising Pacific Ocean out of said Central Valley. It used to be a huge marsh, as little as a hundred-fifty years ago, and now salt water intrusion is a real danger.

Agribusiness has sucked so much water out of the ground, it has sunk several tens of feet.

Don't confuse poor urban planning/water usuage with a change in mother natures behavior George. I have friends who have been surfing Huntington beach for 40 years, they all still agree the worst flood was 30 years ago... back then it was just reported as high water with no climate agenda attached to it.

The easiest way to tell if someone is saying something truthful is if they and nobody they know profit from sharing the information. The way things are being portrayed nowadays I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if there is a bonus structure around linkability to CO2, with a kicker if it makes Trump look bad.
gkam
1 / 5 (4) Feb 10, 2017
Sorry, but your musings are wrong. We have looked into this for a century in the Central Valley.

And, no, I do not profit from my post. That is the method of conservatives, who equate everything to money and power, their supreme values.
bschott
not rated yet Feb 10, 2017
Sorry, but your musings are wrong. We have looked into this for a century in the Central Valley.

The 100 year old tidal gauges in that area show no sea level rise, just like all of the ones on earth. So don't tell me that a rising pacific ocean is the cause of anything relating to any kind of weather event. And for the record:
Agribusiness has sucked so much water out of the ground, it has sunk several tens of feet.

And:
poor urban planning/water usuage

Mean the same thing. My other "musings" (which are actually called observations)were just what I have been told by everyone I know who lives there...so unless they are seeing/measuring wrong. They are accurate.
Lastly, I know you don't profit from your posts, I never said or insinuated that you did.

gkam
1 / 5 (4) Feb 10, 2017
There are no 100-year tidal gauges in the Central Valley.

No tidal gauges at all, in fact. It's inland.
Estevan57
Feb 10, 2017
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