No, California’s drought isn’t over. But this week, the state came to terms with the fact that the series of El Niño-influenced storms has made a dent.
State officials say it’s far too early to declare the drought over — especially given that the rains seem to have focused on Northern California, while Southern California has seen comparatively little rain. But reservoir levels are rising, along with the snowpack. Both are key sources of water for the state.
Here is a look at how Northern California’s water situation has changed:
1. Lots of snow ...
California’s main water reservoir is its snowpack, which is much fuller now than it was a year ago. @NOAA pic.twitter.com/BCO3u5vhzb— John Upton (@johnupton) March 17, 2016
#snow so far in Homewood is 22 in! The West Shore of Lake Tahoe will have heavier snowfall rates thru 11pm.https://t.co/B7kDN5TZvJ— NWS Reno (@NWSReno) March 14, 2016
From @NASA MODIS: #Snow capped #Sierra, swollen #SacramentoRiver, and silty runoff into #SanFrancisco Bay & Pacific pic.twitter.com/kdT77xpvDS— NWS Reno (@NWSReno) March 15, 2016
#cawx Fresh snow at the Sentinel & Half Domes @YosemiteNPS #California shared by @NWSHanford #cawater pic.twitter.com/9QRZsWsurf— Ed Joyce (@EdJoyce) March 6, 2016
#cawx @NWSReno: Approximate 12-hr-change in snow depths @sugarbowlresort & @MammothMountain #California #cawater pic.twitter.com/MsrRSEa2vq— Ed Joyce (@EdJoyce) March 7, 2016
2. ... and lots of rain ...
Heavy rains soak Northern California, causing flooding and some evacuations https://t.co/tU1wlYrXCB pic.twitter.com/3n144E2doG— L.A. Times: L.A. Now (@LANow) March 14, 2016
Rain, Snow Pelt Northern California After Morning Dry Spell https://t.co/opfA23siMg pic.twitter.com/s9emw1KQUz— ABC News (@ABC) March 13, 2016
Boat ramp at Garcia Bend Park here in the #Pocket after the recent rain. #Sacramento pic.twitter.com/5rQzLwA6OZ— Will Cannady (@PocketPride) March 14, 2016
Sacramento River running brown after days of rain. #ElNino pic.twitter.com/SXa9PHfmWQ— NWSBayArea (@NWSBayArea) March 15, 2016
3. ... work to fill reservoirs
El Nino is helping California - take a look at the latest reservoir numbers. We could use some of that rain. #azwx pic.twitter.com/V16a6c9vXa— Paul Horton (@PaulHortonCBS5) March 17, 2016
California Reservoir Dumps Water in a Drought, But Science Could Change That https://t.co/J1AQQJznF6 via @lesommer pic.twitter.com/L6wQUFo9PG— Paul Rogers (@PaulRogersSJMN) March 2, 2016
Shasta reservoir (California’s largest) level has done an impressive hockey-stick higher in the last few weeks pic.twitter.com/ZDOEvpWoXO— Paul Kedrosky (@pkedrosky) March 15, 2016
.@usbr will increase releases from Keswick Dam below Lake Shasta tonight. Last release this high: 6/3/2011 #cawx pic.twitter.com/sPXGCkYwCC— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) March 17, 2016
A healthy Lake Shasta this afternoon- 110% of average and 85% capacity! #SacValley #cawater #cawx pic.twitter.com/InqOrYeLMU— Sacramento Valley (@SacValleyCA) March 17, 2016
Lake Oroville’s amazing compback. Courtesy Mark Tamayo pic.twitter.com/jncME51EbA— Bill Martin (@BillMartinKTVU) March 17, 2016
I don’t even recognize Lake Oroville any more! Taken today, courtesy @ActionNewsNow viewer Gonzalo Curiel #CaWx pic.twitter.com/pRLOf30Qed— Cecile Juliette KHSL (@CecileJuliette) March 16, 2016
Images of reservoir in drought-stricken California in 2014, 2016 highlight major differences https://t.co/WUyu4OQ6WG pic.twitter.com/AXViC9ih5z— AP West Region (@APWestRegion) March 15, 2016
See the difference. Drag the slider to compare the images.
The Almaden Reservoir, near San Jose, was full of water on Monday after four straight days of rain. The downpour has replenished several key reservoirs in drought-stricken California. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)
Updated on Friday at 7:40 a.m. with additional images.