California — Drought Done in by Rain & Snow

The wildfire danger of the whole state wasn’t pardoned by the huge amounts of snow and rain that has fallen on California from late last year until now. However, half of the state has been given a huge reprieve from wildfire danger.

That is the conclusion of the U.S. Drought Monitor. It is a joint project of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The monitor says about 49% of California is still in a moderate or severe drought and 17% is free of drought, or a condition known as abnormally dry. Dangerously dry is how the rest of the state is described.

However, the monitor still worries about low groundwater levels.

One of the big worries going forward — says climate scientist Daniel Swain of the University of California — is flooding. “Clearly the amount of water that’s fallen this year has greatly alleviated the drought,” Swain said. “It has not ended the drought completely but we’re in a very different place than we were a year ago. If we can get through the rest of the season without anymore roof collapses or snowmelt floods it will be quite a boon.”

The atmospheric rivers that dropped all that moisture on California added a huge amount of snow to the Sierra Nevada’s snowpack. That caused lots of flooding and the troubles associated with floods.

Three regions — says the monitor — have seen the biggest benefits from the precipitation. And — by the way — that precipitation is measured in feet rather than the usual few inches. The regions are:

  • The Central Sierra Nevadas and its foothills
  • The Central California coast from Monterey Bay to Los Angeles County
  • Two counties on the North Coast of California

“The rain has improved California soil moisture and streamflow levels, while the snow has increased mountain snowpack to much above-normal levels,” the monitor’s moisture report said. “Most California reservoirs have refilled with water levels near or above average, but groundwater levels remain low and may take months to recover.”

Right now the snowpack in the Sierras — which provides 1/3 of California’s water needs — is 170% of the historical average.

Source link: Insurance Journal —

About PIA Western Alliance

The Professional Insurance Agents Western Alliance is a membership organization promoting and enhancing the success of independent agencies seeking to grow, learn and be heard within the industry.


More Industry News