15 feet of snow! Historic storm helps to improve California drought

Some parts of the state now completely drought free

Current Snow Cover

ORLANDO, Fla. – It has been a winter to remember for the West Coast. California started the winter with nearly all of the state in drought status according to the United States Department Of Agriculture.

Drought update: USDA

The late November update also showed more than 12% of the state was in extreme drought status. The weather pattern then turned extremely active for the west as 2023 began with series of weather events known as atmospheric rivers. Unfortunately, the storms turned deadly in early January.

By the Jan 10 update, less than 1% of the state was in extreme drought status.

Jan. 10 drought monitor

The most recent drought monitor, released Mar. 2, shows parts of California completely drought free.

Drought Monitor released Mar. 2. Data includes up to Feb. 28. (USDA)

This was after a historic storm that brought up to 15 feet of snow to parts of the Sierra Nevada mountains including Yosemite National Park.

This was the same storm that promoted and extremely rare blizzard warning for the mountains outside of Los Angeles. The relentless nature of the storms has the state just behind record snowpack numbers.

The California Department of Water Resources also noted that it will take more than one good year to fully replenish the state’s groundwater basins. Another major storm is set to deliver additional feet of snow to the mountains through the first week of March.

Future snow

This will continue to help depleted reservoirs in the region once the snow melts in the warmer months ahead.

About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist. Jonathan comes from Roanoke, Virginia where he covered three EF-3 tornadoes and deadly flooding brought on by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.