A chain of storms that has been moving slowly through the Pacific is now setting its sights on the drought-stricken California this week. This dose of heavy rain will actually be more positive than negative since the state has been undergoing a drought for an extended period of time.
Even though this storm will bring with it major issues such as high winds, mudslides, and flooding, it will bring this dry state some much needed precipitation. Anywhere from 1-3 inches of rain can be expected on the coast of Southern California, while 3-6 inches can be expected over the central and northern portions of the state. So in total, this adds up to about 17-100 million gallons per square mile, and that is only counting this storm by itself.
As for some of the west and southwest facing slopes of the coast, like Sierra Nevada and the southern Cascades, they can expect some locally higher amounts of rainfall that could possibly reach a foot. This storm is definitely going to bring more rain than is needed to end the drought, and this is a step in the right direction since the ground will then be thoroughly soaked.
High amounts of rain will spread south and towards the inland, reaching the agricultural areas of Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. The runoff from this storm will heighten the water levels, causing this surging water to empty into nearby lakes and reservoirs. The storm that occurred earlier on in the month actually caused the water to flow through Yosemite Falls.
There is a possibility of additional storms occurring next week with heavy rainfall present before the weather pattern shifts later into the month. Most of the state of California and some parts of its neighboring states have been experiencing severe drought through the summer and into the fall of this year as well. This drought has been occurring since a couple of years ago when the rain rarely fell and there was hardly any snow in the mountains.
During the last part of November is when the storms with heavy rainfall started to return to the region. Did you know that from Dec 1st 2012 to Nov 29th 2014, San Francisco racked up a rain deficit of about 20.9 inches, which was about 50 percent of its normal average rainfall? Since then, the city has racked up about 5 inches of rain, which is four times that average! In turn, this reduced the two-year deficit by 20 percent.
Los Angeles also acquired a deficit of 14.9 inches, which was about 44 percent of its normal average. Since the end of November, the city has received about 1.5 inches of rain which is about 3 times their average. This has reduced the deficit for the same period by nearly 10 percent. Luckily for residents, a further reduction in the deficit will occur through this and next week. This will be the second storm in one week with more rain in a week than most places had for the entire year.
Also, several feet of snow have fallen prior to the storms this week in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades. A lot of snow will continue to fall over the higher mountainous regions, which will then melt and remain in the water bank for spring and summer.