California’s “perma-drought” has been erased

Much to the surprise of meteorologists.


California’s “perma-drought” has been erased

H.B. Schmidt

As of June 24th, the Upper Colorado River basin snow water equivalent (SWE) is 4259% of average, which is 0,052 inches (1.3 mm). That translates into ~2.2 inches (55.2 mm) of water content left yet to melt out of the mountains.

While there’s no guarantee that next winter’s snowfall will be as richly generous as 2018/19 it definitely speaks to how cyclical precipitation patterns can be in the American West. In 2010/11 there was a massive snowpack that helped push Lake Mead’s water level far out of the danger zone of mandatory water delivery restrictions.

Then there was a period of dry years that hit California—and in March 2014 the Bureau of Reclamation decided to send a pulse of water down the Colorado River all the way to the Gulf of California. This pulse did wonders for restoring the environment of the river’s delta but did nothing for saving up water over the next few years. We were routinely lambasted with media puffery projecting Gov. Brown’s fears the California “perma-drought” would be the “new normal” for 40+ million people dependent on the Colorado River’s water. In 2016/17 an epic snowpack helped boost Lake Powell’s reserves—until that water too was sent downstream to Lake Mead, as the ongoing California drought showed no sign of abatement.

Enter the winter of 2018/19. Not only has California had one of its wettest winters on record, but its “perma-drought” has been erased much to the surprise of meteorologists and climate scientists. What’s not surprising is how the complicit media has given far less fanfare to what is extremely good news. The Upper Colorado River basin is still feeding this winter’s precipitation into Lake Powell and it’s not inconceivable that the lake’s mean elevation above sea level will rise another 20-25 feet (6-7.5 meters) before the melt ends sometime in July—well past the typical end date of June 15th.

We are currently waiting on the monsoon to begin here in Phoenix—the average starting date is July 7th. Sometimes there can be monumental storm clusters that dump upwards of 8 inches (20 cm) of rain in 24 hours. All that rain naturally runs off into otherwise dry wash basins until the flow slows sufficiently for it to soak deep into the ground below. More often than not, the rain totals are far less. But repeated rains over a prolonged monsoon can add up—as does the winter snows melting in the mountains to refill the largest reservoirs on the mighty Colorado River. Whatever comes of the monsoon and the snowpack over the next five, ten, or 20 years, one thing can be certain: some years it will be epic, and some years it will be epically dry.

In other words, business as usual despite ongoing climate change. People need to remember that and dispense with the histrionics.

14 thoughts on “California’s “perma-drought” has been erased”

  1. Here in Australia the Greenists are waxing hysterical about the Murray Darling rivers…

    And yes it is just business as usual “droughts and floods”.. That’s the nature of the climate.

  2. Buy how can the Calif junkees kowtow to China?

    After all, the dictator is waiting for that bad Trump to be disposed and then will “reward” the Calif folk.

  3. As of June 24th, the Upper Colorado River basin snow water equivalent (SWE) is 4259% of average, which is 0,052 inches (1.3 mm).

    What is 0,052 inches? I have NO idea.

    • The average SWE is 0,052 inches, or roughly 1.3 mm. The total SWE in the Upper Colorado River basin is ~2.2 inches.

      In some mathematical and scientific circles, decimal point nomenclature is replaced using a comma rather than a period. In this specific case, however, it’s my eyesight being what it is—declining in acuity.

  4. I figured that back in 2017. I was traveling north on I-5 and at that point, the reservoirs were almost full. a couple of rivers I crossed looked like they’re recovering nicely. I figured another winter should see the end of the drought.

  5. well stated.
    and in the low rain yrs people need to be careful with water seems to be something americans in general arent good at.
    reckon its time to find and run some of the best/worst scare stories
    like the never ending 300yr drought one alongside current mead fill levels
    and i bet they didnt tidy up dredge etc Mead while it was at lowest evah! levels like sane people would do

  6. I would have thought meteorologists were a bit more clued up compared to climate ‘scientists’ who live in a model world.

    • Gerry, they are. They aren’t surprised by the fact that weather rarely remains the same. However, since “climate scientists” have co-opted the weather as an indication of “climate change,” the media has apparently decided to add the credibility of meteorologists(?) to the sinking credibility of the “model makers” in hopes that people will once again drink the kool-aid of climate science.

  7. Major polarity shift on the sun in the last 24 hours.
    Negative bounce North. see the show on GONG/NSO
    Solar wind speed remains very low with nothing substantial in the forecast, seen on SOLARHAM.
    i.e. cooler. On the solar wind speed chart(s), below speed is temp which runs in sync and easily monitored at SOLARHAM or SpaceWeather. Lower solar wind speed, lower temp. Higher speed, higher temp.
    Not because carbon.

  8. I live here and I can tell you the leftists are very disappointed.
    Its like they really wanted their doom and gloom to come true.

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