California’s Drought Wiped Out After Winter of Soaking Rain, Heavy Sierra Snowpack

Mar 11, 2019 at 11:00am

Jonathan Belles,

Well-above-average rainfall and snowfall over the last 60 days has nearly knocked out the years long drought in California. As a result, areas in exceptional drought, the highest category, have decreased from 2.82 percent to 0.09.

This pattern has also brought colder-than-average temperatures to much of the West, helping to turn wet systems into snowy ones. Seattle had its third-coldest February on record, and Missoula, Montana, had its second-coldest February. The chilly conditions have extended farther south, as evidenced by the fact that Santa Barbara saw its third-coldest February

Snowier systems are a big change from the 2016-17 water year and several years before. Even though it also experienced above-average precipitation, the snowpack in the lower elevations is much higher this water year than last.

Although drought conditions still remain from the Four Corners region into parts of the Great Basin and Northwest, the current wet pattern will likely lead to further improvements.

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