You HAD to know that the atmosphere would take notice of all this drought talk and the rain dancing of local and national politicians. Sort of the modern version of a Native American rain dance, a venerable tradition in our country.
An Apache rain dancer with obvious skill
There is a particular emphasis on rain dancing in the Southwest U.S., The Pueblo's are well known for their intricate dancers...and unlike some Native American rituals, both men and women were usually involved. Rain dancing is serious business that affects the entire community.
The latest model runs show a distinct change in atmospheric circulation this week, and appears fairly similar to typical El Nino patterns in which the SW U.S. get wets. The big change has been replacement of the West Coast high pressure ridge by a deep trough that is pushing down into California (see map at 500 hPa, around 18K feet):
Here is the precipitation forecast for the next 72 h. Northern California gets hit by up to 5 inches of liquid water.
But what is particularly impressive about this event is the forecast snow...here are the 72h totals: 1-2 feet at some of the higher elevations of the Sierra, southern Cascades, and Siskiyou Mountains.
Precipitation this time of the year is particularly prized...much more valuable than in December since April rain not only fills reservoirs, but moistens the soils as California enters the dry season.
The National Weather Service cumulative rainfall over the next 16 days shows a wet California:
And the NOAA Climate Prediction Center predicts above normal 6-10 days rainfall over California.
You want to see something ironic? Here is the average per capita RESIDENTIAL water usage for some cities around the U.S. Sacramento, where Jerry Brown lives, is the highest, followed by tony Palo Alto, home of many environmentally minded folks. The lowest water usage? Seattle! So the folks who have the most water use the least. We are in a position to provide some tough love to our California brethren.
Finally, I understand that Governor Jerry Brown asked some of his aides to arrange an Indian rain dance in which he would participate. Consider the image below, perhaps someone made a mistake: