Northern California Soaker, but a Drought Buster?

There's some relief across northern California this weekend even as drought conditions continue to worsen over much of the state. The "Pineapple Express" is delivering a wallop of moisture not seen in months across northern and central California. At lower elevations this precipitation is taking the form of soaking rains, while at higher elevations in the Sierra's we're seeing the first real taste of winter for the year.

Drought Buster?
Is this a drought buster? Maybe not, but it sure won't hurt. According to the National Weather Service, much of California will require anywhere from 18 to 36 inches of precipitation to make up for the huge deficits seen across the region. Current forecasts through Monday are calling for about 5 to 9 inches of precipitation.

Keep in mind that many of the state's largest basins are estimated at just 12% of normal snowpack on the season. A lack of mountain snowpack, which provides drinking water for millions across the state, continues to be a huge concern as we head into the spring-time months.

Perspective
As we posted on Thursday, conditions in the west have been worsening by the day, with a dramatic increase of area classified as experiencing Extreme Drought since just December. Yesterday, the National Weather Service in Hanford, CA Tweeted this charge of the current precipitation deficit.

If you're a skier, get out and enjoy it. This morning Sugar Bowl and Dodge Ridge were both reporting 11 inches of fresh snow, with more expected both through the day Saturday and again Sunday. The rain/snow line will be tricky as we head into the later half of this storm, but appears as though most locations over about 7,000 feet will be all snow.

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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