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    Rain is Coming; What Is Needed Though

    1/28/2014, 3:28:38 AM

    As expected there is rain in the forecast for California this week. There is the good chance of some rain in northern to central California Wednesday into Thursday. There may be a touch of rain Friday morning in southern California from a deep marine layer. We are also watching a low off the coast of California this weekend. Right now, the models keep that low west then south and they bring no rain to California from it. This needs watching, however. Looking ahead to next week, the models, to one degree or another, bring the chance of more rain from north to south late in the week.

    At least none of these storms this week are even going to put a minor dent into the rainfall deficit we have across the state. The hole that has been dug is mighty deep, and it will take a lot more than the trickle of rain that we are expecting to fill that hole.

    The chart below shows the normal amount of rain from June 1 to April 1 followed by what has fallen to date, the percent of normal to date and how much rain is needed between now and the end of March to bring precipitation levels to normal.

    The last column is a staggering amount of rain which is needed. For most places it is double, or more, the normal February and March rainfall. The chances of that happening is very, very low.

    From the National Climatic Data Center, here are two maps. The first is the percent of normal precipitation needed to end the drought in the three-month period after December 2013. Remember, this map is from the end of December, the last available. In many cases, the numbers are higher than this map even suggests.

    The last map is the probability of ending the drought conditions by the end of March.

    My chart and both these maps put into perspective of how bad the drought is. Storms are coming. The weather is not going to be rain-free like the last six weeks have been. However, we are probably asking way too much for the drought to end. We can only hope to lessen it at least a little.

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


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    Western US weather expert