I was out running errands yesterday evening, and as if to bookend the events of the week, the sun once again was shining on the newly fallen snow of the Sierra Nevada crest, this time from Claribel Road between Oakdale and Waterford (the first picture of this post). The storm, the worst in 20 years, was over, and northern and central California began cleaning up the flood damage.
There was an even bigger issue: the California drought. Since 2011, we have been in the grip of the worst drought ever recorded in modern times (megadroughts lasting a century or so are known from the recent geologic past). Three diagrams illustrate the massive changes that have taken place since last year, and since last week.
|Reservoir levels Jan 7, 2016|
|Reservoir levels, Jan 6, 2017|
|Reservoir levels today. Source: http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cdecapp/resapp/getResGraphsMain.action|
Single storms can make a difference, but even the biggest are not drought-enders. We really need two or more consecutive wet years to start making some inroads in our depleted groundwater basins. But the storm happened and it dumped a lot of rain in California. The drought may not yet be ended, but it looks better right now than it did a year ago.