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

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

Golden blood: The rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
  • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less