California’s insatiable thirst for rain has finally been helped due to the recent storms brought upon by the weather phenomenon known as El Nino. Caused by temperature increases in the waters of pushed north from Central America to the western United States. As a result, the western states of the U.S receive an abnormally heavy amount of rainfall during the winter and spring months, which is welcomed by many residents all too familiar with arduous periods of drought.
Although El Nino is not a new experience to Californians, this one is uniquely powerful, with it arguably being the strongest since at least the 1950’s. The eight million square miles of heated ocean in the Pacific is substantially larger in area and depth than past years’ storms, creating a bountiful presence of precipitation in the regions of California. Through the succession of the three raging storms of El Nino, tens of billions of gallons of water ended up reaching the Pacific Ocean through California alone. In some areas of Los Angeles, six inches of rain was measured, and in other areas, even more rain was able to clash with the parched surface of California soil.
In the local San Bernardino mountains, the combination of rain and exceptionally cold temperatures has resulted in a large increase in the snow pack. So far, there is enough snow to last ski resorts until March, and possibly April, giving this winter the name of the best ski season in years. Snow lovers from all around southern California flocked to places such as Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead to catch a chance to play in the fresh snow from the recent blizzards.
Despite the massive amount of rain, meteorologists report that El Nino alone will not bring enough precipitation to end California’s five-year long drought. However, the storms certainly will help with the problem, particularly as reservoirs in northern California fill up and send water south through the state’s extensive aqueduct system. The creation of more reservoirs throughout California would prove beneficial to stopping the drought, yet plans to do so take a large amount of time and money not readily available in today’s economy. As a result, many people are setting out rain buckets or other rain catching systems to collect the precious raindrops from the common showers of El Nino in a state where rain is not common itself.
El Nino’s effect on California are not all advantageous however, especially in southern California, where residents are not used to an abundancy of heavy rain,much less record-breaking storms. Albeit blossoming wildflowers and a fresh coat of green on an otherwise colorless chaparral landscape liven up southern regions with the rain, past three storms have also caused mass flooding in streets, houses, and other man-made structures. Yet another dilemma faced by communities are the frequent mudslides in areas impacted by wildfires that do not have enough vegetation to keep ahold of wet soil. Together, these floods and mudslides have closed down countless roads and shown citizens of California that precautions to be better prepared should be taken.
The sheer magnitude of this present El Nino has shown the state that it must be prepared for the significant amount of precipitation that comes with it. Although the first three storms have already passed through, there will certainly be more heavy showers in the near future. Citizens are advised to stay inside, avoid risky streets, and quite simply, enjoy the peculiar grandeur of the rain.