Tags: california | drought | snow | climate

Snow Could End Calif. Drought

Image: Snow Could End Calif. Drought
California's four-year drought has been severe. (AP)

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Saturday, 02 Jan 2016 10:43 AM Current | Bio | Archive

We all know trouble flows downhill, but fortunately for Californian’s who miss watering their lawn water does, too.

In fact, there’s a good chance California’s drought may be solved by divine intervention (I’m not going to be too specific here since the range of California beliefs extend from God to “global warming”). This intervention, regardless of the source, is a good thing, too, since waiting for successful political intervention could be long and thirsty.

KCRA has some very welcome news as the year draws to a close and it involves a long pole and a snowdrift. The California Department of Water Resources has measured the depth of the snowpack in the Sierra Mountains at Phillips Station in El Dorado County. The station, which is located at 6,800 feet above sea level, has a snow depth of a bit under 5 feet, which is 136 percent of the average for this time of year.

The water content is estimated at 16.3 inches. Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program, explains, "This is clearly much better than it was last year at this time."

I’ll say. Last Jan. 1, the snowpack was 55 percent under the historical average and politicians were discussing fines for washing your car. As the year progressed the snow regressed. On April 1, 2015 the pack was 95 percent under the historic average.

KCRA advises against becoming too optimistic: “Despite the positive results, state water managers said it's too early to declare an end to four years of punishing drought. They said they'll feel more confident if the April 1 snowpack is 150 percent of normal and depleted reservoirs reach normal levels.”

Gehrke agrees: “So there’s hope I think much more so than we had last year. El Niño is not a slam-dunk. I mean it doesn't guarantee you anything, but at least it is a positive sign.”

That’s good advice since statewide the snowpack is just barely above average, currently 105 percent. And not all the snow makes it down to the lowland. Much of the water soaks into the ground and a smaller portion becomes runoff.

Of course if snow continues to accumulate, California’s pendulum could swing the other way and we may need to start worrying about flooding, but after the last four years of drought, that’s a worry I’m willing to embrace.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.
 

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If snow continues to accumulate, California’s pendulum could swing the other way and we may need to start worrying about flooding.
california, drought, snow, climate
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2016-43-02
Saturday, 02 Jan 2016 10:43 AM
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