Drought Watch - NBC Bay Area

Drought Watch

Rob's Drought Watch Table



    Battle of the Bays: The Backstory You Need
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    PALMDALE, CA - MAY 05: The California Aqueduct carries water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to southern California as urgent calls for California residents to conserve water grow on May 5, 2008 near Palmdale, California. The California Department of Water Resources has announced that its final snow survey of the season indicates that snow depth and water content in the Sierra Nevada Mountains was only 67 percent of normal levels. In the northern Sierras, March and April proved to be the driest months since the state started measuring the snowpack in 1921. The Sierra snowpack is vital to California water supplies and officials are preparing plans for mandatory water conservation in the face of continuing drought. Dry conditions across the West have already doubled the wildfires this year and fire officials are bracing for a devastating summer with the potential of repeating the southern California fire storms that charred 800 square miles, destroyed 2,200 homes and killed 10 people last October. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    I sometimes tell folks that it unfortunately takes some flooding events to eventually break a drought.

    We're starting to see that scenario underway around the Bay Area as our El Nino-charged Winter rainfall season is really starting to kick in.

    While the rainfall totals may seem excessive (and truthfully they were with that week in January that dropped a month's amount of rain in just five day's time), the Bay Area is finally seeing an average to slightly above average rainfall season so far with long-range models indicating more periods of heavy rains should continue through February.

    So long story short -- its *supposed* to be this wet, and this rainy.

    However, our incoming storms through February will be packing unusually high amounts of rainfall due to the subtropical nature of some of the incoming moisture - meaning our threat for flooding will stay fairly high through February.

    To keep tabs on the latest on the drought (and whether we're getting closer to putting an end to it) check out these sites:

    California Department of Water Resources provides an updated website containing information on the Sierra snowpack surveys, Northern and Southern Sierra rainfall information as well as precip data for other sections around the state:

    You can access that link here:  DWR Drought Page

    Latest Drought Conditions

    Here are some links on our Bay Area reservoirs:

    South Bay / Santa Clara Valley

    Santa Clara Valley Water District & Reservoir Data

    East Bay

    East Bay - Los Vaqueros Reservoir Data

    North Bay

    North Bay Water Supply

    For local/regional rainfall information our local National Weather Service office based in Monterey offers a daily summary of rainfall with percentage of average along with the previous year's rainfall data.

    You can find more on local rain totals vs. seasonal averages here:  NWS Monterey Climate Summary

    www.weather.gov/climate/index.php    -->  Click on the Bay Area on the national map and select "Regional Summary" (RTP)

    As our Pacific storms keep dumping rain and snow over Bay Area and Northern California, you can also do your part to help out in the drought.  Reduce time spent in the shower, cut back on watering the lawn (with our on/off rainfall you don't really need to water it at all), and sweep dust/debris instead of powerwashing.  Every little bit helps!

    - Rob Mayeda (staring at the Pacific Ocean and thinks... "desalination plants anyone?")