Dec 11, 2016

Will the wet start to the rainy season put dent in California’s drought?

Sacramento, CA
USA
by
Ellen Garrison
,
Sacramento Bee
Amy and Reed Borchers of Carmichael walked their dogs in McKinley Park Sunday, saying they had “cabin fever” after the past few days of rain. Photo: Lezlie Sterling
Amy and Reed Borchers of Carmichael walked their dogs in McKinley Park Sunday, saying they had “cabin fever” after the past few days of rain. Photo: Lezlie Sterling

October was wet, November dry. And December? The soft but steady rains this weekend were enough to push the Sacramento region to 155 percent of normal precipitation for the season.

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“There isn’t a strong indicator that could tell us if we’re going to have” high levels of precipitation from now through February, said NWS meteorologist Idamis Del Valle.

Still, the early-season rains are making a dent. A year ago, the U.S. Drought Monitor listed all four counties in the Sacramento region as being in “exceptional drought,” the worst classification. This year, the drought monitor’s weekly report shows conditions in Sacramento and Yolo counties have been upgraded two categories to “severe drought,” while El Dorado County is another step up in “moderate drought,” and parts of Placer are listed as just “abnormally dry” – the least severe category.

Most of the state’s central and southern reaches, meanwhile, are still gripped in “extreme” to “exceptional” drought, according to the map, which is produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Nebraska.