Winter forecast for drought-busting rains fades

Guy Kovner, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The bottom line is that California can get wet during an El Niño, but not always.

Firmly in the grip of a historic statewide drought, Sonoma County needs a deluge to offset the lack of substantial rain for the past year and a half; but there is no such prospect on the meteorological horizon, with the once-promising forecast of a strong El Niño season fading away.
Over the past 18 months, from January 2013 to June 2014 — the driest such period in California’s records — the state has amassed a rainfall deficit that exceeds 19 inches, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Santa Rosa’s deficit — the difference between actual and average precipitation — is nearly twice as large, at 37.26 inches.
That means it would take more than double the city’s average rainfall, or about 70 inches, this coming winter and spring to balance the shortfall in local rain gauges and break the drought.
It’s been three years, however, since Santa Rosa even matched its 30-year average of 32.2 inches, and the likelihood of a wet season that significantly beats that mark has waned, leading weather and water officials to speculate that the drought is likely to persist through next year.
“Many parts of California have missed out on nearly a year’s worth of precipitation, and it will take a long time to gain back that deficit even in a best-case scenario,” Daniel Swain, a Stanford University environmental science graduate student, said recently in his California Weather Blog.
via Winter forecast for drought-busting rains fades | The Press Democrat.

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