After a relatively dry February, substantial precipitation fell during the past week (see map of cumulative 7-day precipitation), with 5-6 inches over the CA coastal mountains and up to 10 inches in the Sierra.
The two biggest reservoirs in California are Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville; both are well above last year's level and surging upwards (see below). Lake Shasta in now at 87% of normal. In one week, I expect both will be above normal (top of the blue area). A huge change.
Yet the torrents from the sky are not over. Not even close. The worst (or best) is yet to come! Here is the forecast cumulative precipitation for the next 7.5 days. Wow. The West Coast gets hammered, particularly California, with up to 10-15 inches in the Sierras and mountains of northern CA.
And the extended model forecasts beyond that show even more!
So with massive precipitation, restoration of soil moisture in the northern 2/3rds of the state, above normal streamflow, and above normal snow water content in the mountains, what is the NOAA Drought Monitor showing over California?
Exceptional drought....the absolute worst...over half of the State, with the rest in extreme and severe drought. Can you imagine if California wasn't floating away with heavy rain? What would drought monitor show then? One shudders just thinking about it.
I will be giving a talk on March 16th at 7:30 PM in Kane Hall on the UW campus on the history, science, and technology of weather forecasting as a fundraiser for KPLU. I will give you an insider's view of the amazing story of of weather forecasting's evolution from folk wisdom to a quantitative science using supercomputers. General admission tickets are $25.00, with higher priced reserved seating and VIP tickets (including dinner) available. If you are interested in purchasing tickets, you can sign up here