NewsCovering Kern County


Even with record-setting rain, the drought has not improved

Latest report shows Severe Drought continues
Posted at 5:58 AM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 13:36:10-04

Bakersfield had record-breaking rain yesterday, picking up nearly an inch of rain in just one day. In fact, we've had an impressively wet March in Kern County, collecting 2.13", well above our monthyl average of 0.88". In fact, we have more than doubled the amount of rain this month than what we saw for all of October, November, December, January and February combined. So why hasn't the drought improved?

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report released this morning shows the same status for the state, including a ranking of Severe Drought for most of Kern County and an area of Moderate Drought for the Kern River Valley and northern desert. Officials say the drought status has not improved because of the low amount of Sierra snow, reporting "mountain snow pack is less than 25 percent of normal across much of the Sierra Nevada."

So yes, we've had plenty of rain the last three weeks, but there hasn't been a lot of snow, which is so critically needed to get us through the dry months of summer. That's because the snow pack slowly melts during the spring, recharging our waterways and reservoirs.

And when you look at the numbers specifically for Bakersfield, we've now come to a water year total of 3.45" thanks to this recovery in March, but that's still well below our average of 5.24" where we would typically be by this point in the year. And so with that deficit, the drought continues.

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