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KPBS Drought Tracker Finds Drier Than Normal Conditions

DATA SOURCES: Rainfall data comes from a weighted average of 96 weather stations throughout the state. Snowpack data represents the average of three different multi-station measures of the northern, central and southern Sierra snowpack. Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers, through the California Nevada Applications Program RISA and the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, helped compile the data.

Last year’s deluge of water was significant enough in Southern California to end a six-year drought in the region, but not enough to keep the drought at bay this year.

The U.S. Drought monitor finds most of San Diego County is experiencing moderate drought conditions with much of the region in the Los Angeles basin experiencing severe drought conditions.

The KPBS Drought Tracker follows rainfall and snowpack conditions, with the help of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and both indicators are significantly below where they should be for this time of year.

Rainfall totals are well outside local norms for this time of year, according to the numbers compiled by Scripps researchers.

“Right now we’ve received about a third of the annual precipitation that we get so, on March 22nd we received about a third. So normally we would’ve gotten about three-quarters of our yearly precipitation. We’re quite a bit below that. And the normal range that about two-thirds of the years fall into, we should have gotten at least half of our precipitation by now,” said David Pierce, Scripps climate researcher.

The Sierra Nevada snowpack is also only at about 57 percent of where it should be, although this week’s storms could push those number up noticeably.

Last year’s deluge of water was significant enough in Southern California to end a six-year drought in the region, but not enough to keep the drought at bay this year.

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Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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