Ken Clark

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Have the Storms Helped the Drought?

March 3, 2014; 2:21 PM ET

The drought in California did not just develop this year, or in the last 12 months, but over the last three years. It is unrealistic to think one series of storms is going to have a huge impact on the long-term drought. However, how did last week's two storms help the current drought situation.

Many times it is said a picture is better than a thousand words. In this case, a set of graphics will do most of the speaking.

The first two graphics show the amount of water in the snowpack in the Sierra, first from Feb. 5 and the second from this morning, March 3.

The second two graphics are the major reservoir levels, the first again from Feb. 4 and the second from yesterday morning, March 2.

There certainly has been improvement in the amount of water in the Sierra snowpack, up on a statewide average by 16 percent. However, the percent of normal for year-to-date is still very low ranging from 20 percent in the north to 37 percent in the central Sierra.

For most of the big reservoirs, there has only been a couple of percent increase compared to historical average. Folsom has had an increase of 27 percent, but that still puts it just above record low levels for this time of year.

Oroville is still at record low levels for the date.

Yes, it was nice to get a good-sized storm, but the state is nowhere near out of the woods. In fact, I would say that California is still deep in the forest of a drought and a long, long way from getting out of that forest and seeing any real good news.

I can be found on Twitter @Kenwxman

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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Ken Clark
Ken Clark's Western U.S. weather blog tackles daily weather events with commentary from one of the most experienced and trusted Western U.S. weather experts.