California Welcomes Rainstorms But Drought Concerns Still Resonant

A five-day downpour is a huge blessing for parched Californians suffering through a monumental drought, but experts warn not to get hopes too high any time soon. This is merely a drop in the bucket compared to what would be needed to reverse a 3-year drying trend.

I'm a native Californian so naturally I'm concerned about the massive drought currently taking a state that looks like this:


America's Finest City

and instead making it look like this:

Okay, so there's a minor exaggeration there. Regardless, we've written at length over the past year all about California's recent record dryness. One thing we haven't written much about is rain. Luckily for residents of the Golden State, they just got a ton of it

"On Tuesday, downtown Los Angeles experienced the most rainfall in a single day since records have been kept – 1.21 inches of rain. Santa Barbara has seen more than two inches, while Monterey County has taken in six."

The problem is that five days worth of rain, a large amount by almost any measure, is hardly going to make a dent in the drought. From Gloria Goodale of CSM:

"Even as drought-weary Californians are basking in a five-day downpour, they are largely savvy enough to know that this storm – no matter how mighty – is not enough to turn the tide for a region engulfed in a historic three-year dry spell."

Some officials were hoping that this year's El Niño system would quench California's thirst but that faith has since been extinguished by the tepid warming of coastal waters. A weak El Niño is a tough pill to swallow for a state in which 80% of the land is experiencing what meteorologists consider extreme drought. It would take 150% of average annual rainfall over the coming winter (California's wet season) to stave off the dryness. That's not happening any time soon.

If and when nature decides to end this drought, Californians will have hopefully gotten much better at conserving resources. Water-saving efforts are mandated and in place throughout the state. It's the first major step of restructuring life in a state now defined by extremely dry conditions.

Read more at CSM

Photo credit: Mr Twister / Shutterstock

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