Despite a parade of storms, California’s drought isn’t over yet

Water supplies and snow levels in the state have risen sharply since late December as a result of more than a dozen atmospheric rivers that flooded the state in January and March, as well as heavy snowfall across the state in February.

State climatologist Michael Anderson said on Wednesday that California experienced “pretty fantastic” dry weather patterns in 2023, which also helped saturate the state’s previously dry groundwater basins.

However, he said the state remains partly dependent on conditions in the Colorado River Basin, which supplies water to about 40 million people in Southern California, as well as Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

As for the specific answer about whether the drought is over, Anderson offered an answer that boiled down to “no, but sort of.”

The state climatologist said one of the biggest problems for the state’s water supply is the Colorado River basin, which has been in a drought since 2000.

The state is expected to see a lull of rainy weather over the weekend, though the chance of showers will be low before another atmospheric river could appear between March 19 and 22. Long-term forecasts are also uncertain.

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