It’s raining and snowing across Northern California today. The important question, of course, is whether this will continue.
Until Sunday, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center was predicting increased odds for wet weather across California over the next two weeks. This was brought on by a predicted southern shift in the jet stream, which was expected to drop more storms into California from Canada and Alaska.
Then the agency abruptly changed course with a new forecast on Sunday that took away the promising odds. Now neither dry nor wet conditions are favored through Nov. 22.
On the other hand, the forecast through that period does favor colder-than-normal temperatures. That’s a good thing, because it means any storms that do arrive will produce low snow levels. That is important to ease the drought, since the Sierra Nevada snowpack is the source of about half of California’s fresh water.
The solution to drought is simple: California needs a regular series of storms like the one sweeping the state today: Relatively wet with low snow levels. Today’s storm is sufficient to trigger the National Weather Service to issue a winter weather advisory and a flash flood watch for some areas burned by summer wildfires. It could bring as much as 16 inches of snow to the Northern Sierra. That will make a nice start to a big winter snowpack.
Top image: This forecast map from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center indicates temperatures are likely to be colder than normal across mountainous areas of California through Nov. 22. This suggests any storms that do arrive during this time will be snow-producers. (National Weather Service)