Climate Matters

California Drought Update — January 12, 2016

Greetings Meteorologists!

As many of you know, California has received a phenomenal amount of precipitation over the last week. There has been flooding in the Bay Area and the Sacramento Valley, with 8 to 11 feet of snow at some of the ski areas in the Sierras. According to the California Department of Water Resources, statewide snowpack now stands at 161% of normal for this point in the water year.


This week’s Drought Monitor, released this morning, shows a significant dent taken out of the long-term California drought. The areas experiencing Exceptional Drought have nearly vanished, and the drought in Northern California has disappeared.


Below is an animated gif of the animation is for sharing on social media.

global temp anoms


Or you can link to the above gif. Facebook requires a link to display animated gifs.

Below are links to broadcast quality versions of the animation above:


With title, QuickTime

Without title, QuickTime

With Title, mp4

Without title, mp4

We have also enclosed stills of the animation at its beginning and end points in time, both with and without titles, and with and without backgrounds. Upon request, we can provide these graphics in Spanish.

In a world warming from climate change, there is more evaporation, which can worsen droughts.

But it also means more water available for precipitation, whether it is rain or snow. And there is an upward nationwide trend in the number of days with 2 inches of rain or more.


global temp anoms


While this precipitation will help with water resources in the West this year, the long term trend in snowpack at the end of the winter in the West is down over the last 35 years.


global temp anoms

The data cut-off time for the Drought Monitor is 7 am ET on Tuesday, so next week’s release will likely show further drought improvement in California. And be on the lookout for our next release to coincide with the NOAA Global Temperature Analysis on Wednesday, January 18. We are expecting them to announce that 2016 was the hottest year on record globally.

As always, let us know if you have any questions, and if you can use the graphics on the air or online.


Brought to you by Climate Central