NPR on why recent rains in California help but much heavier rainfall is required to beat the draught.
Recent rains have brought wet relief to parched sections of California, a state Gov. Jerry Brown declared to be in a drought emergency in January. The problem is far from solved — but the fresh water is a welcome addition to reservoirs.
“After a few weeks of rain, much of the Bay Area looks like it might during any other winter,” Boyer reports, “never mind that we just came through the driest 13 months since people began keeping precipitation records in this part of the world.”
The recent rains helped in some of the areas that needed it most. As a look at the U.S. Drought Monitor shows, recent measurements show that California’s percentage of land in “extreme” drought as of March 4 fell to nearly 66 percent from nearly 74 percent the week before. The area in “exceptional” drought fell to 22 percent from 26 percent.
But those drought levels are still worryingly high. “With reservoirs still well below average and the end of the rainy season approaching, the [Marin Municipal Water District] cautions customers they’re not out of the drought ‘danger zone’ yet,” Boyer says.
A week or two of rain won’t change that. As a farmer in California’s Central Valley recently told NPR’s Kirk Siegler on All Things Considered, “we are going to need rain in the Biblical proportion” to help the state’s crops.
For another look at the drought’s impact, you can check out our recent post on two images taken of Northern California’s Folsom Lake, which stood at only 17 percent of capacity in January.