Winter Storm in California- What it Means for the Drought



Light snowfall on campus at UCLA on February 23rd.

Simran Vaswani, PhotoJournalist

The past few weeks have been filled with rain and several inches of snow in the mountains. California is known for being extremely dry and has been in a drought on and off for almost 100 years. “This year we are at 17.87 inches, which is among the largest to date,” said state climatologist Michael Anderson. The average for just January is 5 inches! If that’s not bizarre enough, Mt. Baldy has gotten 45.3 inches of snow in just this year! We have even moved from severe to moderate drought! So does this mean that California’s dry spell is finally over, or is it going to continue for 100 more years?

California has been on and off with our drought and although it has rained abundantly, it’s not quite enough to take us out of the drought. The past 3 years have been the longest dry period since records have been taken into account, but California came back with some record breaking numbers of precipitation. It even snowed in UCLA! “Recovering from that would take two wet years in California and a decade or more of wet years for the Colorado River Basin,” said Roger Bales, a professor of engineering at UC Merced who specializes in water and climate research (UC Merced). According to the California Department of Water Resources many of the reservoirs are at or even above the historical average! Dhyani Balsara (10) comments on the change in weather, saying “I can’t believe that this is California anymore, I mean snowing in LA? Wow!”  

I can’t believe that this is California anymore, I mean snowing in LA? Wow!”

— Dhyani Balsara

Yet, why is it whenever it rains California freaks out? We are unprepared for the rain, which can have fatal effects. Here are some tips to prepare for the rain. Firstly, never drive through flood water. The average car only needs 12 inches of water to be swept off the road! Another way is to have an emergency kit just in case the worst does happen. California does not rain often, but when it rains, it rains hard. It’s important to always be prepared for any situation. Especially when going out of the house during the rain, it is important to stay warm and dry. Even when it is not expected to rain a lot, the weather is unpredictable. Also, remember to bring the necessary items to stay dry, such as an umbrella or raincoat.

The rain has affected our lifestyle drastically, and it is so important to stay safe in case of flooding. Although “It Never Rains in Southern California” if there’s a chance of showers, don’t forget your raincoat.