Much Needed Rain and Snow For California

Some relief on the way for portions of state hit hard by drought
Drought Monitor CaliforniaThis week the U.S. Drought Monitor release updated numbers for California, and they were not good. As of February 4, 2014, 67% of the state was classified as experiencing Extreme Drought, with 9.81% experiencing Exceptional Drought, the most extreme rating that the Monitor offers.

Just two short months ago those numbers were dramatically different. On December 3, 2013 0% of the state was classified as under Exceptional Drought, with a relatively low 27.59% of the state experiencing Extreme Drought.

The same weather pattern responsible for bringing a seemingly endless cold and snowy winter to the eastern U.S. has meant a much drier than normal winter along the west coast.

This all started to change last week when the stubborn ridge of high pressure began breaking down. This allowed the first snow in over a month to fall in a few locations in the Sierras, and brought ample snow to Utah and Colorado via the Pineapple Express.

Related: Finally heavy snow in the forecast for the Sierra's

The next several days support a continued flow moisture into north central California and Oregon, hopefully bringing some relief to the region. Take a look at the WPC seven day QPF forecast -- that's over seven inches of liquid for northern California. One can hope.

While this won't completely undo months of below normal precipitation, it can certainly help for those locations that get rain and snow over the next week. Long range models are less friendly, as teleconnections point to a return of the ridge in the west. For now, let's root on the moisture and hope things continue looking up in the west.

Brendan Heberton

Brendan is founder of Weather5280. He is co-founder of FreshyMap, and develops software for geospatial data analysis and visualization.

Denver, Colorado
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