SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The stormy weather that brought 8-10 inches of rain in the Santa Cruz Mountains and up to 10 feet of snow to the Sierra did ease drought conditions across the San Francisco Bay Area, but much more rain and snow is needed in February and March, officials said.
The U.S. Drought Monitor released its weekly drought map Thursday and the change in the last two weeks was very noticeable.READ MORE: Bay Area Health Expert Hails Potential of Single-Shot COVID-19 Vaccine in Pandemic Battle
The Bay Area had been locked into severe or extreme drought conditions before the late January atmospheric river roared into the region. On Thursday, San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties had improved to moderate drought conditions.
Santa Cruz and Monterey counties — which bore the brunt of the storm front — improved to just abnormally dry while parts of wildfire ravaged Napa and Solano counties remained locked in extreme drought conditions.
Researchers at the Scripps Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes took to social media Thursday, saying that more storms are needed to avoid another dry year.
“Prior to this event, 95% of California was under drought conditions, with severe-to-extreme drought in much of Northern and Central California,” they tweeted. “California received 7.6% of its normal total water year precip between 26 Jan and 29 Jan.”
— CW3E Scripps (@CW3E_Scripps) February 3, 2021READ MORE: High School Girl Sues San Mateo County, State of California to Allow Indoor Youth Sports
On Wednesday, the state’s Department of Water Resources conducted a monthly manual snow survey at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada and the results indicated that the snowpack is below average despite the recent stormy weather.
Before this storm, all three regions of the Sierra Nevada were reporting less than 50% of normal year-to-date snowpack conditions. Statewide snowpack increased from 42% of normal on 26 Jan to 66% of normal on 29 Jan (still well-below normal for this time of year). pic.twitter.com/dHXhgkyeMn
— CW3E Scripps (@CW3E_Scripps) February 3, 2021
“The recent blast of winter weather was a welcome sight, but it was not enough to offset this winter’s dry start,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “While there is still a chance we will see additional storms in the coming weeks, the department and other state agencies are preparing for the potential for a second consecutive year of dry conditions.”MORE NEWS: Longtime San Francisco Merchants Lament Recent Spike in Burglaries
The survey, the second one of the season, recorded 63 inches of snow depth, which is equivalent to 17 inches of snow water. Those results represent 93 percent average for the location. Statewide, DWR stations’ measurements indicate California’s snowpack snow water equivalent is 12.5 inches, representing 70 percent of the average for the early February time of year.