A very dry (and very warm) February raised the specter of an early melting of the snowpack in the high country, with only one significant storm. A similar situation last year left us with 5% of normal snow in April. We had dropped from a surplus of 110-plus percent to something like 80 % of normal. The March storms dropped five feet or more of snow in many parts of the High Sierra and Cascades, so there's good news in the high mountains too.
Is the drought over? Not by a long shot. The rain and snow are significant, but the groundwater and soil conditions will take a long time (if ever) to recover. The reservoirs of California, with just one exception, are still well below normal. Some reservoirs have a decent chance of filling this year, but there is a long way to go before we can make up the deficit of the last five years. One of the problems is that a reasonably wet year can cause consumers to relax their efforts to conserve, and one of the real problems of our state is that even a normal year no longer provides enough water to meet all the demands. A political conversation needs to happen about our way forward. With global warming, droughts may very well become more frequent, and a return of "megadroughts" lasting decades are a possibility (two megadroughts in the last 2,000 years lasted upwards of a century each).
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