That sad, relative trickle of rain that washed over Southern California this El Niño season hasn’t done anything for the region in terms of the drought, which is now predicted to continue through the summer. A hydrologist with the NOAA’s California Nevada River Forecast Center tells KPCC that while the northern part of the state has enjoyed some above average precipitation, “drought conditions in the southern region remain ‘every bit as severe as they have been.'”
That’s right, while other parts of the country have to worry about flooding, in Southern California, we’re still going to be warm and very dry. Snowpack in the Sierras is much better than it’s been in the last year and some reservoirs in the northern part of the state have filled up, but it’s a different story around here—SoCal’s reservoirs remain low.
And while it’s great that Northern California got a good amount of water, it doesn’t necessarily mean the whole state is in a comfy position water-wise. Because while there’s definitely more snow than there was, say, last year, that just means that there will be near normal snowmelt in parts of the north; in the southern part of the state, the NOAA forecasts below normal snowmelt. So there will be some water, just not an incredible amount of it, and definitely not what we’d need to get out of a drought.
So it looks like SoCal is headed into another drought year. “To ease the drought in any meaningful fashion, we’d need 150 percent of normal precipitation. We’ve come close in some areas, but some areas have been below average,” which exacerbates the water debt that the region has accumulated, the NOAA hydrologist tells Gizmodo. He compares the drought to “a very deep hole” that SoCal is in, and that’s not going to be easy to get out of.
As if that’s not enough of a bummer, as El Niño fades away, SoCal will generally see more “warmer than average” temperatures, says KPCC. Sounds like more of the weird heat we’ve already been experiencing.