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#206799 - 01/01/23 02:37 PM 2023 brings hope for a pause in Western US drought
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2939
Loc: NorCal
Happy new year and wishing all a great hiking season in 2023.

Our never-arriving Sierra snowpack received a lot of love in December, yesterday in particular, and the USDA Snowpack Map today shows the entire range mostly dotted in blue, indicating >200% of average.

Lots of winter remains ahead and we have been fooled before, e.g., last year we had no significant rain or snow after a wet December. But as starts go, the current one looks great!

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#206800 - 01/01/23 04:39 PM Re: 2023 brings hope for a pause in Western US drought [Re: Rick_D]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3292
Loc: Portland, OR
One thing I've noticed about our new climate reality as compared with when I was younger is that weather seems to get caught in 'holding patterns' for longer periods of time, then when the change in weather pattern arrives it tends to be more abrupt and extreme, instead of gradual. One side effect of this that I've noticed is that comparing present snowpack to historic averages for the same time of year can swing wildly from month to month, going from 200% to 50% or vice versa in just five or six weeks.

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#206801 - 01/01/23 07:42 PM Re: 2023 brings hope for a pause in Western US drought [Re: aimless]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2939
Loc: NorCal
Feel the same. We (schlepping around NorCal) seem to get more of our rain and snow in fewer storms than previously--when many smaller storms brought it more gradually and reliably.

Case in point: Lake Folsom, a reservoir on the American River, was at 337k acre-feet two days ago, with little inflow. 48 hours later it holds 610k af, inflow having been as high as 135k cubic feet per second. Because the reservoir capacity is just below a million af and it has flood control requirements, they'll o need to release water for that task without knowing if the rain and snow will keep coming, until they are allowed to fill it completely in late spring. Last year, December was wet and then it stopped raining entirely.

It's a tricky calculation and wild weather swings makes the job much harder.
_________________________
--Rick

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#206802 - 01/02/23 04:01 PM Re: 2023 brings hope for a pause in Western US drought [Re: Rick_D]
Arizona Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 301
Loc: The Southwestern Deserts
I hear you all. Wild weather swings in southern Arizona too and some unsettling drought as well. The rains have potentially quenched that issue for a while. They have been slow and steady with the ground really soaking it up. Went for a ramble into the wilderness this morning and is still drizzled off and on but was pleasant enough with temps on the mid 40s. The ground was spongy with moisture. Took the old Gigapower stove we have had for 19 years and made piping hot drinks with the expedient little hearth.

The rains have been enough and slowly soaking that a late winter and early spring wildflower explosion might just happen. There is nothing like it when that happens. Good luck with your precipitation everyone.

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