Good Start to the Water Season Out West
As most know, California has been in a severe drought and drought conditions persist over most of central and southern California. However, since the start of the water year (October), rainfall and snowfall in California has been coming in bunches.
In late November and into December, several storm systems moved into California and the Pacific Northwest and the beginning of January 2017 is showing more promise for rain and Sierra snows for the Golden State.
The Northern Sierras are critical for water storage in California and Nevada. The largest reservoirs reside there as the central and northern Sierras are one of the largest snow sheds in the west. The graph below shows precipitation in the northern Sierras since the beginning of the water year (blue line).
What is most impressive about this graph is that the current precipitation levels are very close to the record water year of 1982-1983. It is difficult to say if this year will surpass 1982-1983, however, the odds of an above normal water year in the central and northern Sierras looks promising.
In addition to more mountain snow, rain along the northern and central coasts is looking promising as well. While southern areas of California might be drier, odds are good there as well for more rains in the coming months of January and February.