SO HOW HAS THE HEAVY PRECIPITATION OF–INCLUDING MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN SNOWS—- ACROSS SECTIONS OF CALIFORNIA AND THE WEST IN RECENT DAYS AND WEEKS IMPACTED THE LONG-TERM DROUGHT SITUATION THERE?

It’s a timely and interesting question. From Steve Bowen, Chief Scientist at insurance giant GallagherRe, comes this in a Tuesday post:

“Recent precipitation has pushed YTD snowpack well above normal for this time of year in #California.

However.

Still a tiny fraction of a fraction of what is needed to counter the considerable water deficit and prolonged drought across the state.”

Bowen’s analysis that what’s come is a fraction of the moisture need in the region is reinforced by the analysis posted below which depicts the PERCENT OF NORMAL PRECIP which has fallen across the West in the past month (specifically from November 13 through December 12th of this year).

There’s clearly been significant precip in some areas–but it’s not been universal across the West. Huge areas have missed out. And when one looks at the latest Drought Monitor to understand the scope of the dry weather which has led to water restrictions and conservation efforts there in recent years, you can see the challenge the region faces in recharging moisture supplies.

Drought emergencies, like the one which grips so much of the West, develop over the years. So, while the precipitation we’ve seen in recent days and weeks is beneficial and WELCOME–though it can come so quickly in some areas it produces short term issues with flooding and travel—drought conditions don’t abate quickly.