As of Wednesday, the northern Sierra Nevada had received 114% of the average rainfall typical during strong El Niño years, while the central Sierra Nevada in the San Joaquin Basin was doing even better, having received 122% of average rainfall typical during big El Niño years.
Many of the state’s major reservoirs are below historical averages -- Lake Shasta is at 40% when the average is 60%, while Lake Oroville is at 34% when the average is 54%.
But don’t start replanting your front lawn just yet. “We have such a huge deficit, it’s a very large number we have to recoup,” said Craig Shoemaker, a meteorologist in Sacramento. Here are some maps, charts and images that help show where California is headed with the rains and where it still needs to go.
More rain and snow coming
Expected rain and snow totals for late tonight through Saturday afternoon. Gusty winds at times too! #cawx pic.twitter.com/ibLsmPbROT— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) January 21, 2016
A winter of storms brings significant rain totals
El Niño & southern jet stream bring rain and snow to NorCal. SoCal? Not so much. #ElNiño https://t.co/vuwpttYPC9 pic.twitter.com/PGwIFFPzet— Ed Joyce (@EdJoyce) January 20, 2016
Season to date rainfall. #bayareawx pic.twitter.com/ApzPY75FOW— NWSBayArea (@NWSBayArea) January 21, 2016
Helping California’s snow pack
Statewide, snowpack is 111% of normal for this date! 1/19/2015 it was at 32%! #WeStillNeedMoreSnow #cadrought pic.twitter.com/s8sUK50Wyg— CA - DWR (@CA_DWR) January 19, 2016
Filling reservoirs hit hard by drought
Pretty amazing: Lake Shasta rising fast due to rain storms pic.twitter.com/6GhGWhoFwr— Shelby Grad (@shelbygrad) January 20, 2016
But they still have a long way to go
Until recently Lake Shasta levels at historic lows. Big water increase but still way below normal pic.twitter.com/YeGz9tTm1x— Shelby Grad (@shelbygrad) January 21, 2016
Godzilla El Niño continues to eat away at the California drought. nom nom nom precip & snowpack now 110% of normal. pic.twitter.com/E67D5mTA4P— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) January 18, 2016
And the drought persists
#CAdrought More snowpack needed to “chip away” at long-term drought in #California https://t.co/slm19C9ugb #cawater pic.twitter.com/ojovAugSec— Ed Joyce (@EdJoyce) January 21, 2016
MORE ON EL NIÑO