Mar 7, 2016

Is El Niño Finally Ending California's Drought?

California
USA
by
Robinson Meyer
,
Atlantic
A man and a woman walk together in Alamo Square Park in San Francisco on Thursday evening. Photo: Jeff Chiu, AP
A man and a woman walk together in Alamo Square Park in San Francisco on Thursday evening. Photo: Jeff Chiu, AP

After three years of an unprecedented drought, a “Godzilla” El Niño formed in the western Pacific. Previous years with strong El Niños had been unusually wet, with the warm patch sending one wet system after another rolling into the region. California had essentially missed two years’ worth of precipitation. Surveying the wet season to come last fall, meteorologists said that El Niño was how it might restore the balance.

Now, six weeks remain in the state’s annual rainy season, and results are mixed. Rain is drenching the Bay Area this weekend, but California as a whole seems on track to have only an average precipitation year.