Is the Great California Drought finally quitting?


Is the Great California Drought finally quitting?
  1. Is the Great California Drought finally quitting?
    latimes.com
    The state’s biggest reservoirs are swelling. As of this date, the Sierra Nevada have seen as much snow, sleet, hail and rain as during the wettest years on record. Rainy Los Angeles feels more like London than Southern California. So is the great California drought finally calling it quits? Ye…
    Personal Finance

The state’s biggest reservoirs are swelling. As of this date, the Sierra Nevada have seen as much snow, sleet, hail and rain as during the wettest years on record. Rainy Los Angeles feels more like London than Southern California.

So is the great California drought finally calling it quits?

Yes. Or at least maybe.  If the storm systems keep coming, state and regional water managers say, 2017 could be the end of a dry spell that has, for more than five years, caused crops to wither, reservoirs to run dry and homeowners to rip out their lawns and plant cactus.  

“You’ve seen jumps in snowpack and precipitation amounts. You look at the charts, you see the line just pretty much go straight up,” said state climatologist Michael Anderson. For most of the state, the end  “is in the realm of possibility now, which is kind of a nice thing to think about.”

But Anderson cautioned that the current “La Niña-ish” weather patterns, as he called them, make it tough to know what the rest of the winter will bring. “The funny thing about this weather pattern — it’s about as unpredictable as you can get.”

Nature could suddenly turn off the faucet, water officials warn.

“It could shut down,” said Jeanine Jones, interstate resources manager in the Department of Water Resources. “We’re about a third of the way into the wettest part of the season. We have to see what happens in the rest of the year.”

Whether the drought is in its death throes also depends on what you look at. “In terms of surface water, most of California is no longer in drought,” UC Davis water expert Jay Lund said in a Wednesday blog post.

But there is no set definition of drought, nor is there any legal criterion for declaring a beginning or end to it in California.

“We can’t say that we’re no longer feeling the impacts of the drought,” said Deven Upadhyay, water resource manager for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.  “Later this year, we may be able to say that we’ve really turned the tide and the drought’s over,” he said. “But we’re not there yet.”

Metropolitan imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California. Lake Oroville, the biggest reservoir in the state system that sends supplies to the Southland, is filling at a stunning rate. That is almost sure to mean the agency will get more water from the north than it has in years.

But Metropolitan’s regional reserves are still far lower than they were at the beginning of the drought. And, Upadhyay says, 2017 could turn out to be a lone wet year followed by more dry years, as was the case in 2011.

“I sometimes talk about it as being more like a nine or 10-year drought,” he said. “Really the only wet year we had was 2010-11. That was a single wet year in what is really kind of a prolonged drought.”

For now, though, all but a few pockets of the state are wet and getting wetter. Weather gauges at Rocky Butte in San Luis Obispo County recorded 17 inches of rain in the first 10 days of this month.

“They’ve been absolutely hammered,” said Joe Sirard, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “And up at Big Sur, tremendous amounts of rain. That atmospheric river ... just inundated that area.”

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, the statewide snowpack jumped from 135% to 158% of normal for the date. In the drought-punished Southern Sierra, the snowpack is 187% of the norm.

Since Oct. 1, total precipitation in the range has been soaring at rates similar to the wettest winters in the modern record: 1982-83 in the northern and central Sierra and 1968-69 in the Southern Sierra.

Lake Shasta, the state’s largest reservoir and a major source of water for San Joaquin Valley agriculture, is 81% full and releasing water to create more storage room. Oroville, which supplies the State Water Project, is nearly three-quarters full.

“We’ve had fantastic runoff up here in the Sacramento [River] Basin, Feather [River] Basin, some pretty jaw-dropping numbers,” Anderson said.

In the first 10 days of this month, more water flowed into Oroville than the entire city of Los Angeles uses in a year.

In much of Southern California, the dry autumn has given way to above-average rainfall that is helping replenish local groundwater basins that typically provide roughly a third of the region’s water supply. 

December rains were “long and steady,” good for seeping into the San…

Tags: #Los Angeles
  1. By going after the head of Samsung, South Korean prosecutors strike at the heart of the economy

    LATimes-Personal Finance
    01.18 / 15:46 latimes.com
    An investigation into the de facto head of Samsung Electronics, involving bribery at the highest levels of business and politics in South Korea, has sparked enormous concern here, where the company’s tentacles extend deep into daily life. But regardless of the legal outcome, analysts say the a…
  2. Is now the time to invest my retirement savings in stocks?

    CNNMoney - Retirement
    01.18 / 15:46 money.cnn.com
    Forecasting short-term moves in the financial markets is largely a guessing…
  3. What we learned from the Ducks' 2-1 OT victory over the Lightning

    LATimes-Personal Finance
    01.18 / 15:10 latimes.com
    The Ducks got their second overtime win this season, 2-1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday at Honda Center. Ryan Getzlaf scored a goal at home for the first time this season, and their power play scored for the second time in January. It all added up to a four-point cushion in the…
  4. EPA pick Scott Pruitt has repeatedly fought the agency he is now seeking to run

    LATimes-Personal Finance
    01.18 / 15:10 latimes.com
    Trump's Cabinet: Senate hearings continue Jan. 18, 2017, 7:10 a.m. This is our look at President-elect Donald Trump's transition and the outgoing Obama administration: Senate hearings continue for Trump's cabinet picks for Health Secretary, head of EPA, U.N. ambassador and Commerce Secretary…
  5. Analysis: Donald Trump's transition has hurt his popularity, not helped

    LATimes-Personal Finance
    01.18 / 13:57 latimes.com
    Chelsea Manning's prison sentence is commuted Jan. 18, 2017, 5 a.m. This is our look at President-elect Donald Trump's transition and the outgoing Obama administration: President Obama reduces the sentence of Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of giving classified material to WikiLeaks Meet…
  6. Advisers renew calls for 'polluter pays' FSCS funding

    Professionaladviser.com - Personal Finance
    01.18 / 13:37 professionaladviser.com
    The vast majority of advisers think the funding review of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) will not go far enough and have asked for industry fines to be used to pay for compensation. …
  7. Should the U.S. still carry a 'big stick'?

    LATimes-Personal Finance
    01.18 / 12:08 latimes.com
    To the extent that President-elect Donald Trump has articulated a coherent view of foreign affairs, it appears to be that the United States needs to reject most policies of the post-1945 period. NATO is a bad bargain; nuclear proliferation is a good thing; Russian President Vladimir Putin is…
  8. Patt Morrison asks: Lawyer Ted Boutrous Jr. on preserving the 1st Amendment under Trump

    LATimes-Personal Finance
    01.18 / 12:06 latimes.com
    The White House press room evidently won’t be in the White House any more, but in a building next door. On national television, President-elect Donald Trump insulted CNN as a purveyor of “fake news.” He pledged to sue the “liars” — the women who have accused him of unwelcome sexual behavior toward…
  9. Three money numbers you need to know

    MarketWatch - Personal Finance
    01.18 / 11:40 marketwatch.com
    Knowing certain numbers can help you understand how well you’re converting income into wealth …
  10. The First Thing Mark Cuban and Other Highly Successful People Do Every Morning

    Gobankingrates.com - Personal Finance
    01.18 / 10:27 gobankingrates.com
    See the morning routines of 15 famous and successful people, like Warren…
  11. Where Does Trump’s Popularity Rank Among Incoming Presidents?

    Moneytalksnews.com - Personal Finance
    01.18 / 04:56 moneytalksnews.com
    Multiple polls do not have good news for the incoming president just days before he takes the oath of…
  12. Wednesday's TV Highlights: 'People's Choice Awards 2017' on CBS

    LATimes-Personal Finance
    01.18 / 04:09 latimes.com
    SERIES Undercover Boss The chief executive of a chain of specialty coffee stores goes undercover in this new episode. 8 p.m. CBS Fresh Off the Boat Jessica (Constance Wu) wants the family to let go of any and all negativity ahead of Chinese New Year in this new episode of the sitcom. 8 p.m. ABC…
  13. LAPD officer assigned to FBI-led task force shoots murder suspect in Anaheim, authorities say

    LATimes-Personal Finance
    01.18 / 02:56 latimes.com
    A Los Angeles police officer assigned to an FBI-led fugitive task force shot a 24-year-old murder suspect in Anaheim on Tuesday morning as the team was searching for him, authorities said. The shooting happened just before 10 a.m. at a plant nursery on West Broadway, where police say the task …
  14. Venus Williams advances to third round of Australian Open

    LATimes-Personal Finance
    01.18 / 02:19 latimes.com
    Venus Williams, a first-round loser in 2016 at Melbourne Park, is one of the first players into the third round this year after beating Stefanie Voegele 6-3, 6-2 to begin play at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday.  Williams maintained a perfect 3-0 record against the Swiss player, having beaten …
  15. Mattel taps Google executive as new CEO

    LATimes-Personal Finance
    01.18 / 00:29 latimes.com
    Mattel Inc. tapped a Google executive as its new chief executive, a sign that the company is going all in on technology as the future of its toys. Margaret Georgiadis is taking over the helm of the El Segundo company Feb. 8. She is replacing Christopher Sinclair, who was CEO for two years and…
  16. Gov. Phil Bryant delivers State of the State address

    SacBee- Personal Finance
    01.18 / 00:02 sacbee.com
    The text of Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant's 2017 State of the State address, as prepared for delivery Tuesday: Thank you, Mr. Lt. Governor, for your kind introduction. To you and … Click to Continue…
  17. 5 Seriously Simple Cash Back Credit Cards

    Credit.com - Personal Finance
    01.17 / 23:55 credit.com
    Keeping track of the rewards you earn with credit cards can be a real headache. Some cards offer different cash back amounts for different categories of spending. Some cards offer bonus cash back on categories that change every quarter. Unless you have the time to keep track of everything, well, then, the struggle can be... Read More The post 5 Seriously Simple Cash Back Credit Cards appeared first on…
  18. Buffalo Bills hire former Rams offensive coordinator Rob Boras as tight ends coach

    LATimes-Personal Finance
    01.17 / 23:54 latimes.com
    With new Coach Sean McVay in the process of hiring a staff, another former Rams assistant has found NFL employment elsewhere. The Buffalo Bills announced Tuesday that Rob Boras would join the Bills as tight ends coach. Boras, the Rams’ offensive coordinator last season, is the second former R…
  19. GM to invest $1 billion in U.S. factories and create or keep 7,000 jobs here

    LATimes-Personal Finance
    01.17 / 23:53 latimes.com
    General Motors Co. plans to invest $1 billion in U.S. factories and add thousands of new white-collar jobs, measures that have been in the works for years but were announced Tuesday after criticism from President-elect Donald Trump. In all, the Detroit automaker said it will create or keep…
  20. NY budget plan to include free state tuition, tax relief

    SacBee- Personal Finance
    01.17 / 22:48 sacbee.com
    Free state college tuition for middle-class students, an expanded child care tax credit and $1 billion in new spending on public schools are among the highlights of a New York … Click to Continue…