California is being drenched by storms and picking up snowpack this week driven by the powerful El Nino…but recovery from years long drought will take more than a few storms.
California is in the midst of a 4 yr drought, the worst in recorded history. To get out of it certain conditions have to converge. It is a good start that the strong El Nino has brought recent storms with reservoirs showing some recovery, and the snow pack at 103% of what it should be at this time of year.The Sierra snow pack is critical to Californians for much of their water comes from the spring melt water. A significantly deeper snow pack will go a long way to helping the reservoirs recover.
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So what 4 things have to happen….?
They will need 4 more months of storms. The rain may help with aquifers , and help the reservoirs , but much of it will run to the sea. it is the snow pack that is critical to the water supplies.
Secondly, storms have to hit in the right place. Storms that stay on the coast or get shunted to the north won’t be that helpful. Storms that saturate the mountains are required to build that snow pack.
Thirdly, below freezing temperatures in the mountains are required to hold the snow in place, and build the snow pack. If the moisture come down as rain , it can quickly go through the flood channels and be lost out to the sea, leaving less water to fill the reservoirs in the spring.
Fourthly, true recovery takes time. The snow pack , reservoirs , and aquifers need a good year , but a few good years to recover will be needed. Also , consider that California is losing millions of trees to the dryness and to beetle infestations…with can then increase the wildfire situation.