California Drought Free for First Time Since 2011 Mar 15, 2019

A wet winter with multiple, strong, atmospheric river driven storms has eliminated all four categories of drought in California. The last time the state was clear of drought was December 20, 2011. Abnormally dry conditions remain near the Oregon and Mexico borders, but those represent areas going into or emerging from drought.

Just three months ago, around 75% of California was still experiencing drought conditions. Above normal precipitation was able to fill reservoirs and increase snowpack throughout the state. Ski resorts in the Sierra Nevada are booming after statewide snowpack doubled between February 1 and March 1. Similar to 2017’s abundant moisture, the spring is very colorful with a “super bloom” across the state.

Unfortunately, the outcomes are not all positive. Flooding was widespread across the state during February’s record breaking storms. Yosemite National Park announced late seasonal openings after the heavy snowpack caused extensive damage to facilities.

“Yosemite National Park experienced significant snowfall over the winter season. The March 1 snow survey showed that both the Merced and Tuolumne River drainages are measuring at approximately 143 percent of normal (the final snow survey of the year will be conducted on April 1). Several significant storm systems in January and February produced high levels of snow, which resulted in temporary road closures, rock and debris slides, and falling trees. Additionally, these storms resulted in extensive damage to facilities throughout the park. Damage to facilities includes trees falling on and damaging campground restrooms, utilities systems compromised, tent cabins damaged or destroyed, and falling trees impacting campsites, parking areas, hiking trails, and roads.” Source: https://www.nps.gov/yose

For WeatherNation, Meteorologist Karissa Klos.

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