Western Wet Season Coming to a Close
What a water year it has been in many areas of the western states. Since October, precipitation has been heavy in many areas and drought conditions have eased in many areas. Of course, the big winner has been California and the Sierra snowpack, however, there are other areas that have received beneficial rain and snow since fall and into the spring season.
The graphic below shows the record amount of precipitation that fell in the Northern Sierras. The most precipitation (over 93 inches) ever recorded has accumulated in the key watershed of the Northern Sierras since October. The record was beaten by nearly 5 inches!
Above normal precipitation was not only observed in the far west, but in many other areas as well. The chart below shows precipitation relative to normal for the central and western USA.
Of interest are the areas showing, green, blue and purple. In those locations precipitation since October 2016 has been better than 110 to over 400 percent of normal! Areas that were recently dry have picked up great spring precipitation. For example, eastern Colorado, many areas of Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico and Montana have all received above normal precipitation.
The pattern responsible for the wet weather in the west is now coming to an end, however, the increase in soil moisture profiles will help reduce the risk of summer drought in the wet areas this summer.