Northern California Drought?

Probably not this year, but this article from CBS Local, San Francisco, examines the parameters of the debate.

An excerpt.

“DAVIS (CBS SF) — What kind of winter is California having? This year, trying to answer that presents another question, and that is how would one like to do the measuring? That is exactly the kind of thing they work on at U.C. Davis.

“It sounds like such a simple problem,” laughs Professor Andrew Rypel. “But the solution is not simple.”

“As Director of the Center for Watershed Studies, Rypel spends a lot of time tracking the numbers that add up to a good or bad Winter, as far as precipitation is concerned. Those numbers basically come in three categories.

“We look at the rain, we look at the snow, and then we look at the reservoirs to see what’s the rivers are going to do in response,” Rypel explained.

“As for the story at elevation, the most recent snow survey found the Sierra snowpack at 97% of average. Those surveys, however, are localized, and not necessarily the entire story.

“Even with an eight-station index in the Sierras, that does not do a very good job of predicting whether we have a wet year or a dry year,” Rypel said of the snow surveys.

“There is, of course, also rain. That’s where the 8-station index from Northern California creeks and rivers comes in.

“It’s just a different shot,” Rypel says of the chart. “So just like snow can be local, rain to be local as well. So it’s the same deal, what’s going on locally and what’s going on regionally.”

“While the snowpack is just below average, rainfall numbers are well below average. The last factor in the equation is reservoir levels.”

Retrieved January 24, 2020 from

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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