By Samantha Karas
January 9, 2017
The International Business Times
The drought that has plagued California for years is easing up slightly, but it's far from over. Rain, wind and snow hit parts of the state over the weekend and the storm was expected to continue through early Tuesday. Nearly 40 California rivers and creeks were flooded or at the brink, and highways were closed because of landslides and high water.
While some storms with heavier precipitation have recently hit the Golden State, officials stated that it would take a trend of above-average rainfall to compensate for the dry spell and eventually bring the weather back to normal. One issue in particular involves snowpack, “which through runoff, provides about one-third of the water used by California’s cities and farms," the U.S. Geological Survey website said.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency on Jan. 17, 2014 and more than 33 million people have been affected by the California drought, with 2015 being the warmest year for the state on record. Droughts can contribute to land subsidence, destruction to the ecosystem and seawater intrusion.
The northern part of California saw some increase in rainfall precipitation during 2016, however, the state has suffered a "snow drought," according to the U.S. Geological Survey website.
“Generally speaking, to get out of the drought California would need to establish a trend of above-average snow-water content, above-average storage in reservoirs and above-average precipitation,” said Department of Water Resources spokesman Doug Carlson to the Los Angeles Times. “We’re on a great trend. We’d like to see it all year.”
While recent rainfall and flooding has brought some optimism about an end to the drought, some community leaders have warned about jumping to conclusions about the dry spell disappearing in the near future.
“So while we’ve tired of timing our showers, it’s too soon to say the drought is over,” the San Francisco Chronicle wrote in an editorial. “Californians can comfort themselves with the fact that we’ve made it this far and we’re learning how to live with drought.”