This past week, El Niño driven storms dropped more rain and snow into Big Bear than all of last year.
While the state’s reservoirs are improving they are still well below normal. With a 4-year drought we will need storms like these to keep on coming to overcome our water deficit.
As Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News, notes:
But with California droughts, there isn’t widespread agreement among scientists and water managers about what signifies the finish line. California is a huge state, with many different climates, water sources and water users. Decent rain over a few months may be enough to grow green grass so that a Sacramento Valley cattle rancher’s business returns to normal in one season. But it might not fill reservoirs enough so a Bay Area city can lift water conservation rules.
If California receives 150 percent snowpack by this April and 150 percent of normal precipitation in the north, that should be enough to fill the biggest reservoirs and probably end the drought.
On Friday, the Sierra Nevada snowpack was at 107 percent of the historic average, and the eight-station index was at 94 percent.
“I’m encouraged. It’s glorious. I went up to the Sierra last week, and I wanted to kiss each snowflake,” said Felicia Marcus, director of the State Water Resources Control Board. “It was spectacular. It was tinged with the fact that I know it could still get warmer and melt, but I’m trying to look at it as a glass half full.”