THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. - August brought much needed rain to Southern California and the Coachella Valley. But, was it enough to but a dent in the California drought? And is there hope for more rain this winter?
We discussed the severity of the drought with Alex Tardy of the National Weather Service in San Diego.
"We're looking at 50 percent of what we should have seen in the past three years, so we're short 50 percent of the rainfall in the past three years across the whole state," said Tardy.
The southeast corner of California has seen drought impacts lessen thanks to an active monsoon season. Palm Springs recorded over an inch of rain from July through September -- more than the past two years.
"Coachella Valley, Riverside County has also seen a little bit of this rain this summer, especially in the mountain areas where we've noticed an improvement in the drought conditions," explained Tardy. "But, again it's short term drought improvement."
More short term improvement could be on the way as tropical storm Norbert, which is expected to become a hurricane, could bring measurable precipitation to the Coachella Valley in early September. However, a long term solution is what the state really needs.
"We do think this winter will help it, but won't remove the drought," added Tardy. "We expect to see improvement after this winter partly because of El Nino and the expectation of more precipitation than we usually get but we don't expect the drought to end so unfortunately we probably going to be talking about drought again still next year."
Although the Coachella Valley gets a lot of its water from the Colorado River, much of the state's water supply comes from Northern California. Another dry winter, without good snow pack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, could mean an even more serious drought situation for the state in the very near future.