Northern California holds out hope for a miracle March as February heats up

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Data pix.

FOLSOM, Calif. (KTXL) -- Out on Folsom Lake, the 12th day of February had everything a fisherman could want.

"Oh, beautiful day, you know, 70-degree weather. Awesome weather. We caught a couple of fish," a fisherman told FOX40. "I wish we'd get some rain though."

However, it's typically one of the region’s wettest months.

Last year at this time, creeks were swelling and people were filling up sandbags.

But this February, Sacramento hasn't seen a drop of rain and the Sierra has only had a dusting of snow.

The statewide snowpack is now 58% of normal for this time of year.

"Not ideal conditions," said Sean de Guzman, chief of snow surveys and water supply forecasting for California's Department of Water Resources. "Long-term weather models might have something towards the end of February but it's not very much."

While Northern California waits and hopes for a miracle March, de Guzman offered a glass – or a reservoir – half-full outlook.

"Mostly thanks to just how wet last year was, in 2019. So, we have a lot of that carryover storage from the previous year," he told FOX40.

Reservoir storage is considered healthy statewide. Folsom Lake is currently at 49% of capacity and that's not bad. For this time of year, 49% is 92% of the historical average.

The statewide drought monitor does show about a third of the state is abnormally dry.

"Still, that's just dryer vegetation, not necessarily a drought. Droughts are always a multi-year event,” de Guzman explained. “It just doesn't happen overnight. It happens a year building on another year, building on another year."

At the end of the day, the region is looking at a strong possibility of a below-average water year. And although it's too soon to worry about another drought, it’s always wise to conserve water.

"Weather and precipitation and snow are that unpredictable here in California and we just need to stay resilient," de Guzman said.


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