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Only 12 to 20 More Of These Storms And the Drought is Over!

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Looks like the storm is over now; there's been negligible rainfall in SoCal today, but over the last three days (ending at 7 am this morning), Downtown got 1.52 inches and a few areas got more than two inches. That's great! But it is not a droughtbuster, which is what the area needs (if you have somehow not heard, California is an epic, years-long drought). Following the rains, DTLA is now just slightly above the average rainfall for the year, but the year only started in October. And, at the end of the day on Tuesday, the heaviest day of rain, water officials said "it will take at least four or five similar storms every year for the next three or four years to replenish sunken ground-water aquifers and to refill dwindling reservoirs," according to the Daily News.


To get anywhere this year, "California would need 150 percent of the normal seasonal rainfall through spring," a meteorologist tells NBC, or "a storm every 3 to 5 days for the next three months."

And it's pretty damn unlikely Los Angeles will be plunged into that kind of winter-long state of noir, because climate scientists say this week's storm was not a sign of El Niño (the seasonal weather pattern that usually means a lot of rain for Southern California) and, at least so far, there is no El Niño at all. (Climate geeks can read all about that right here.) This storm was, in fact, a "pineapple express of tropical origin that met up with a low-pressure system off the coast." Here's what that looked like:

California has entered its fourth year of drought, mostly the result of what scientists call a "ridiculously resilient ridge" (how good are they at naming things?), which is a high pressure zone that blocks out storms. That ridge has disappeared for now, so that seems good.


The LA Department of Public Works did manage to capture 1.4 billion gallons of runoff during the storm this week, according to KPCC. Those will take somewhere "from a few weeks to several months" to soak into the ground, be pumped out, filtered, and treated. (That's about 2.3 percent of what the LADPW captures in an average year.)

Down below, see rainfall over the last few days, last week, for the season, and for an average season.


· Southern California storm not a drought-buster, not El Niño [LADN]
· 11 Must-See Photos From the Big Los Angeles Rainstorm [Curbed LA]