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It was a dark and stormy night

Submitted by on 1, February 24, 2009 – 7:45 amOne Comment

img_1010California is entering its third year in drought mode. So recent storms that have brought inches of rain to the Bay Area are a blessing, right? The answer to that of course is yes – but … well, read on.

As of midday Monday, our local area was at about 86 percent of normal rainfall to date, said Brian Tentinger, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Monterey (Statewide, it’s about 74 percent). That’s good, Tentinger said. But it doesn’t mean we are quite off the drought hook, he said.

“Obviously, this is what the doctor ordered for now, but it’ll take a lot more for us to get out of drought conditions,” Tentinger said.

Rainfall is just a part of the drought picture, he said. Other factors include reservoir levels and the depth of the Sierra snowpack, which helps meet our water needs.

The snowpack sits at 74 percent of average to date, and the state’s reservoirs, about 62 percent of average, according to the state Department of Water Resources (linked in the first graf).

Here in the East Bay we’re on mandatory water restrictions. And the rain may not be enough to ease those. In fact, the East Bay Municipal Utility District may raise rationing levels, spokesman Charles Hardy told CBS5 (I traded phone messages with Hardy on Monday but was unable to reach him for comment).

The National Weather Service is forecasting a chance of rain through Monday.

One Comment »

  • Doug Linney says:

    In fact, for Alameda and the other cities served by EBMUD, the most important numbers have to do with the precipitation in the Mokelumne River Basin, which is the source of 95% of our water. So far this year, we've seen 24 inches there, 76% of average. But because this is the 3rd year of drought, we need another 16 inches to call off rationing. It seems like we've gotten a lot of rain lately, (and local precipitation was above average) but I also think it seems that way because January felt more like summer than any January I can remember.

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