Though the news has continuously covered El Nino predictions for the fall – they are currently forecasting 95% likelihood – this does not mean we will see an end to this drought. First and foremost, we will need double the usual rainfall to make an impact on the current state of affairs in California. Additionally, more than we need rainfall, we need snow. Over two thirds of the water supply historically has been stored in snowpack, which then melts throughout the hotter months, providing a steady water source.
During April the Sierras generally are at their peak snowpack for the year, averaging around twenty-eight inches. This April there was no snow on the ground. Couple this news with the possibility of El Nino remaining in the southern part of the state, and the precipitation forecast does not seem quite as fortuitous. The moral of the story is that we cannot depend on this year’s El Nino to restore equilibrium in the system, and need to continue focusing on conservation methods.