California’s recent rain doesn’t mean drought is over

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How much rain does California need to put an end to its worst drought in 1,200 years?

Let’s just say it’s a hell of a lot.

Therefore, even with the past week’s respectable rainfall, the state’s drought picture hasn’t improved one drop.

Areas in Southern California have seen as little as 5% of their annual rainfall, with the most fortunate areas seeing only 75%.

In Northern California, snow packs remain less than half full of what they usually are this time of year.

80% of the state is in an extreme drought, and 55% of that figure are in an exceptional drought.

Recent rain has only helped a few scattered areas of the state, but officials say any rain is welcomed to help replenish state reservoirs.

A forecast of heavy rainfall triggered flooding and mudslide warnings throughout the state, but the storm didn’t live up to its expected hype.

The National Weather Service reported that Downtown Los Angeles received a little over an inch and a half of rain, while nearly 3 inches fell in the San Gabriel Mountains.

But really, how much rain is needed to fully alleviate California’s drought?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 18 to 21 inches of rain over the next six months would help wash away the drought.

However, that figure is widely contested.

California water officials assert 150% of the state’s annual rainfall would be needed to terminate drought status.

Official rainfall amounts for California are recorded at eight stations scattered throughout the northern Sierra.

50 inches of rain fell at those stations between 1922 and 1998, which, factoring in the 150% figure brought forth by water officials, would mean that California needs 50 inches of rain to bring itself out of drought.

Only 11 inches has fallen at those eight stations since October 1st.

State officials and federal experts agree that California will need years of substantial storms to get rid of its drought.


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