Houseboats float on Lake Oroville on Monday in Oroville, Calif. Recent storms raised the reservoir more than 16 feet, according lớn the California Department of Water Resources.

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The drought-dried shores of Folsom Lake were damp this week after what officials called the first big storm of the season.

The water màn chơi at Lake Oroville, which receded so much this summer that officials had to lớn cchiến bại its hydroelectric power plant for the first time, rose by more than 16 feet.

And the Russian River — recently reduced lớn something more lượt thích a trickle — flowed with more ease after the atmospheric river dumped record-breaking amounts of rain across California, replenishing dwindled reservoirs and rehydrating cracked terrain.

Despite the mayhem the atmospheric river caused for some residents, the historic storm marked a welcome change for a parched California after a year of heat và drought with so little rain.


“If we could have sầu designed a storm it would have sầu been this one,” said Emma Detwiler, a spokeswoman for the Marin Municipal Water District, which saw its depleted reservoirs grow from 32% capathành phố lớn 43% during the storm. “It’s a great step in the right direction.”

But while the massive plume of moisture helped, experts said it will take much more than one storm lớn make a dent in the drought. The 2021 Winter Outlook recently released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that dry conditions are likely to lớn persist across much of the West through at least the start of next year.

“It’s been very, very dry for two years,” said Jay R. Lund, director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Science. “One storm does not kết thúc that kind of a drought.”



Not even record-breaking rainstorm will over California’s drought, experts say

After the storm passes, the drought plaguing much of the state will remain, potentially improving in some areas but worsening in others.

The fast-moving storm shattered several records as it moved through the state Sunday & Monday. Downtown Sacramenlớn saw a record 24-hour rainfall total of 5.44 inches, surpassing a mark phối in 1880, the National Weather Service said.

City officials said the precipitation totals represented even more than a “200-year storm màn chơi,” which occurs at 4.6 inches & has only a 0.5% chance of occurring in any given year.

Placer County’s Blue Canyon received 10.4 inches of rain — breaking its previous record from 1964.

And in the San Francisteo Bay Area, the 4.02 inches of rain that fell Sunday marked the wetkiểm tra October day in downtown San Francisco, and the city’s fourth-wetthử nghiệm day in recorded history.

The storm was “unusual for this time of year in terms of its strength,” David Sweet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said Monday. “It’s a very, very powerful storm.”



Summer dreams dry up on the Russian River, a paradise whipsawed by drought, flood and fire

This part of the Sonoma wine country has endured fire, flood, intense heat và lightning bolts the last five years. Now it faces ever-more severe water restrictions.

Crucially, the heavy rains helped revive some of Northern California’s depleted water storage reservoirs.

Between Saturday & Sunday, water flowing into Lake Oroville — a key part of the State Water Project — increased nearly 12 times, khổng lồ 39,839 cubic feet per second. Inflow into lớn Folsom Reservoir increased eight times, và water streaming into lớn Shasta tripled.

Prior lớn the storms, all three reservoirs were a quarter full or less.

“It definitely puts a new deposit inlớn the ngân hàng tài khoản that was about lớn be overdrafted,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. “It really is going to lớn help some of these smaller water districts along the coast that were really struggling, not tied inlớn the state water system, & thinking about emergency contingency plans.”

One of those districts is Marin County, which has been faced with one of the state’s more challenging water crises because of its hyperlocal supply system. Most of Marin’s water comes from its reservoirs, và about 25% comes from the Russian River watershed via the Sonoma County Water Agency, Detwiler said.

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The reservoirs received nearly 11 inches of rain during the storm — an “unheard of” amount so early in the season, she said. But it’s not enough to lớn hotline the crisis averted, as 43% capađô thị is still far from the 67% that is normal for this time of year.

“Even with this 10½ inches in 24 hours, we didn’t reach our average màn chơi of storage,” she said. “If we could have a couple more of these , we could potentially see our reservoir storage back up lớn average.”


But big storms can also present challenges for residents as they move sầu through the state — particularly in areas near recent burn scars, which are becoming more comtháng as wildfires sear through more acres each year.

Residents near the recent Alisal fire in Santa Barbara County were ordered to shelter-in-place on Monday amid flash flood warnings as soil and debris — freshly untethered from burnt terrain — slipped và slid inlớn roadways, jamming traffic & creating dangerous hazards.

Sunday night, many roads in Sacramento’s downtown area were inches-deep in water, backing up traffic và leaving cars precariously passing through water that reached halfway up their tires. Creeks overflowed near the American River, where many homeless camps are located, prompting officials to open emergency shelters.

By Monday morning, about 125,000 residents across the state were without power, according to PG&E.

Power was also out on the Bay Bridge early in the day — only hours after Clip circulated of big rigs on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge being blown over by the storm. Nearby crews & homeowners tended lớn downed branches in the streets, leaf-clogged street gutters & toppled basketball hoops.

But while clean-up crews may not appreciate the damage the most recent storm left behind, its net effect should be beneficial, Swain said. Not only did the deluge refill some reservoirs, but it also moistened the soil so that snow won’t be falling onto lớn bone-dry earth.

“It’s a limited silver lining,” Swain said. “I’m optimistic that it takes some of the worst-case drought scenargame ios for next season off the table, but it by no means ends the drought.”


Despite the torrent of hazards it unleashed, the storm was also slated khổng lồ sweep through Southern California fairly quickly, & sunny và dry skies were forecast for Southern California on Tuesday.

By most indications, the months to come will include more of that dryness — particularly in the southern part of the state. The NOAA outlook predicts below-normal precipitation & above-normal temperatures for Southern California through at least February.

South of the Bay Area — throughout Central & Southern California, “prospects for any drought improvement are slyên ổn,” said NOAA meteorologist Brad Pugh.

The northern part of the state may fare better, with Northern California likely to see some improvement in its drought conditions.

But California’s weather is often unpredictable, và the pendulum between extreme events seems lớn be swinging faster.

Experts have said the whiplash between drought và rain — or fire and flood — is becoming more common as the effects of climate change take hold.

Sacramenkhổng lồ, for example, broke its record for the greachạy thử number of consecutive dry days in history just last week, the National Weather Service said — only to lớn see its wettest-ever 24-hour period arrive sầu by the weekkết thúc.

Times staff writers Stuart Leavenworth, Anita Chabria and Susanne Rust contributed lớn this report.

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