As terrible as this winter has been for Minnesotans who long for warmer weather, it has been equally as bad for much of the West Coast where they have been praying for rain for months. Even though much of the western U.S. is considered to be a drier climate, they do have a rainy and snowy season that shows up from about November to March. Well this year, that rain just never showed up. 2013 was the driest year in California history ending up with less than a quarter of their annual precipitation statewide and sending one of the most populous regions in the country on the brink of a crisis. The following shows their rainfall accumulated since the beginning of the rainy season (Oct 1).
Doesn't look like much does it? It certainly isn't. Putting this into perspective… the next 2 images show the departure from average rainfall for the area and the percentage of normal.
Much of the state, and region for that matter has seen less than 25% of their normal rainfall for the last 4 months. Rainy season?? Not this year…
But after all of the drought, it finally looks like some water will be not only making an appearance, but we could be talking about widespread flooding and mudslides as early as next week. Talk about feast or famine! An "atmospheric river" is developing in the Pacific to send a copious amount of moisture into the region over the weekend as you can see in the image below.
So much so, that some areas may see more rain in the coming 72 hours, than they have seen in the last 15 months combined! Check out the rain forecast for the next 5 days from the Weather Prediction Center.
That's widespread amounts of 4 to 8 inches of rain for much of northern California, with up to 9 or even isolated 10 inch amounts possible. Now, I realize that southern California is escaping most of the rain again, but more than half of the LA basins' water comes from the Sierra Mountains to the north so this is good news for the whole state. They won't even come close to being out of the woods after this is over, but many will be in a lot better shape! Just check out what the lack of rain has done for the area…
Yea, terrible drought to say the least.