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California Update: Does All This Rain Mean The Drought Is Over?


Cali-Update-Does-All-This-Rain-Mean-Drought-Over.jpgThe winter of 2016-17 has been a wet one for most of California. As of last fall, Northern California was looking forward to a bleak realization that their water supply was dwindling faster than expected. For now, the danger has subsided – at least for the time being. The rain and snow that has pelted the Sierra Nevadas, as well as the rest of the northern half of the state, has brought much needed moisture that is rapidly filling the recently empty aquifers, lakes, and reservoirs. While the projection for rain over the next few months to a year look good, professional meteorologists and environmentalist are warning people to not get overly excited.


Safe for Now

With the reservoirs and aquifers filling faster than what was originally expected, many people are under the misguided impression that the drought is over for good. In fact, so much rain and snow has fallen in the Sierra Nevada mountains, that it is started to push the water down through the river systems so quickly that many areas are being taken off of the drought list. The ample amount of water is a positive sign, but it is important to remember to not get too comfortable. Even with rainfall predictions for the next few months being above average, it is important to remain conservative when it comes to water usage.


Past Weather Patterns

Past weather patterns have proven that one wet year does not end a drought. In 2010-11, a wet winter gave individuals a false sense of security, only to have drought conditions return the following summer and fall. As the pattern stands, one wet winter will not correct the drought conditions. Improve them, yes, but eliminate the repercussions, no. The drought conditions prior to 2010 were similar to that of the past two or three years. The winter of 2011 brought massive amounts of moisture for several months, only to return to drought conditions by the end of the year. The following years, however, brought the drought back with a vengeance causing homeowners to go against their HOAs and demand the right to use artificial turf and other means to keep their lawns looking their best.


What the Future Holds

Mother Nature is a beast when it comes to unpredictability. The weather is no different. Even though meteorologists have made great strides in being able to monitor and predict certain elements of the weather, the fact of the matter is, a large portion of it is following past patterns and weather trends. Just when they think they have it figured out, a new trend pops up and completely throws off their system. Especially when it comes to long term weather patterns. No one can predict the future when it comes to the weather. The past three decades have given meteorologists quite an example when it comes to trends and patterns, but there is still some question as to whether or not, this pattern will remain in effect long enough to erase all signs of the drought.


Understanding the weather and past patterns and trends that involve precipitation is only the beginning. Knowing the past is important when trying to prepare for the future. It's important to remember, however, that nothing is for certain. While it is necessary to closely monitor the weather patterns, maintaining the water conservation efforts that are already in place is the key to staying prepared in case the current weather situation does not continue. Eliminating water waste and maintaining the habits that were created while the drought was in place will keep you prepared in case dry weather returns and the drought conditions reappear. If the weather patterns remain the same and the level of moisture remains steady, the conservation of water will be good for the environment.

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