Major Storm to Bring Drought Relief to California

November 24th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Tuesday Morning (11/25) Update: It now looks like portions of Northern California could get as much as 5 to 10 inches of rainfall, with the Central Valley getting 1-2 inches or more. So I’m calling this a “major” storm now.

Late this week a vigorous Pacific storm system will track down the California coastline, bringing much needed rain to almost the entire state, and snow in the Sierra Nevada. The “Pineapple Express” system formed north of Hawaii, and will be joined up by another system sliding southward from the Gulf of Alaska.

It looks like at least half the state should get 1 inch 2 inches or more of rain, with 2+ feet of snow in the Sierra. Here’s the latest 8-day precipitation forecast from the GFS model (graphic from

GFS model forecast total precipitation by Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 (12Z 11/25 model run time).

GFS model forecast total precipitation by Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 (12Z 11/25 model run time).

The rain will start in the northwest corner of the state on Friday (Nov. 28) as the Pacific low pressure approaches, and gradually spread south and east across the state through the weekend.

Hopefully this won’t just be a one-off event, but I suspect California will be glad to take whatever it can get. Here’s the latest weekly drought map, showing just how severe the drought has been over California.

13 Responses to “Major Storm to Bring Drought Relief to California”

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  1. H.B. Schmidt says:

    The good people over at NOAA, NDMC, and the USDA have a vested interest in minimizing the benefits of rainfall that falls, as it destroys their inherent Henny Penny “the sky is falling” alarmism that global warming is going to cook and dry up the planet.

    How do I know? Because after this year’s monsoon rains that hit northern California, as well as much of Arizona, they had to “reanalyze” the data more than a month later to readjust downward the mitigation effect of record rainfall.

    The rain that falls will be spun only as “reducing demand for supplemental watering” with no long-term drought reduction, guaranteed.

    • slipstick says:

      You might want to run your remarks by those Californians whose wells ran dry, are having water trucked in, and/or who lost crops in the last few months. Flying into Santa Ana a couple of weeks ago, the levels in the “lakes” around Orange County was truly alarming.

      • KuhnKat says:

        When the government interferes with the engineers that is what happens. The Colorado is getting BURSTS of water to clear the riverbed to Mexico to restore the flow to the farmers there. Northern Cal is having its water used to “save” the smelt rather than going to farmers here. And let us not forget we have destroyed dams here in California. Yeah, that’ll work.

        • jimc says:

          One of the sacred rites of PC, environmentalism, and leftism in general is self-immolation (for you, not for them).

          • Fonzarelli says:

            jimc, I really give a damn about nature. Not particularly sophisticated when it comes to it though… All these environmentalist loons are doing nothing but damage to the cause. WHO THE HELL WANTS TO BE ALLIED WITH THESE PEOPLE ?!?!?! (They could not have picked a worse PR person for the cause than AL GORE!!!) As a sincerely concerned “environmentalist”, I lament the fact that agw, bogus as it is, has high jacked environmentalism and consigned the earth to a lorax like fate. Environmentalism has no credibility. AGW must be defeated so we can get back to the REAL task of stewardship of planet earth… (or planet “terra”, which ever you prefer)

  2. Mark P says:

    We also just had a decent storm in Norcal. We got between .5 and 1 inch locally (I live near one reservoir and work near another). Don’t know if we got any snow though. What we’re experiencing so far this season is more the kind of systems I was used to seeing growing up here.

    And yes, we’re grateful for every drop. There are some locals in my town (Chico) who have seen their wells run dry.

  3. Thanks for the good news, Dr. Spencer.

  4. boris says:

    back in 1073-74 at the beginning of the drop a brick in your toilet and take a shower with a friend approach to water conservation I lived in The Bay area. I seem to recall seeing an interview with a paleo-climatologist who opined that the last 200 years (at that time) had been unusually wet and that the history of the last 10,000 were better represented by arid conditions for the Western States. Does anybody have further info on this?

    Of course sensible water engineering like constructing the the Delta- Mendota canal in the bay area and other projects where derailed by the discovery of new found purpose to “wet lands” by environmentalists. It would be interesting also to see the full amount of water release at reservoirs for various reasons since one of the prime functions of reservoirs is maintaining the water table.

  5. richard says:

    Many problems in California

    “Ecological Change
    Invasive plants can also cause dramatic ecological changes that impact both plant and animal communities. This is often due to landscape transformations that reduce the adaptability and competitiveness of more desired native species. Such transformation can be caused by the excessive use of resources by invasive plants. This includes an increased ability to capture light, consume water or nutrients, or deplete gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) in aquatic systems. For example, a 10,000 acre infestation of giant reed (Arundo donax) on the Santa Ana River in Orange County is estimated to use 57,000 acre feet more water per year than native vegetation”

  6. richard says:

    1.0 acre foot = 325,851 gallons

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