How October’s Rainfall Didn’t Solve the Drought Problem in California

Evan Pimentel, Staff Writer

The California drought has continued through the years and doesn’t show signs of stopping. On October 25th, Monday saw unexpected rain for the whole day which continued into the night. After that, clear sunny skies for the rest of the week. What has the rain done for the drought that still lingers in California? Experts like Jay Lund, director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Science, insisted that this 1.5-inch rainfall over southern California was not enough, and that California has “Been very, very dry for two years,” and that “One storm does not end this kind of a drought.”

Entering its third year, California will still be facing the drought that has affected more than 37 million of California’s residents. The storm on that Monday was not enough to make much of a difference for those who were living in Southern California, but instead, Northern cities received more record rainfall than ever seen for the past few years. 

In just San Francisco alone, the Golden Gate Bridge received 16 inches of rain for over three days straight. The streets were flooded, and power was out for some living in the city and off in the suburban areas of the San Francisco area. At the same time, wildfires were spreading across Northern California in those counties. These fires would then burn 2.5 million acres in California this year alone. The fires would leave behind soil where vegetation would soon grow, but the ground’s topsoil would be dissolved, and no vegetation would be able to grow. Instead, dangers of landslides were occurring due to the amount of mud that was built up with the heavy rain. 

One of California’s largest reservoirs, Lake Orville, had nearly 100 houseboats removed. Reasons being that the water was dangerously at an all-time low, but rising to 20 feet at the same time. Howard Brown, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration policy advisor on West Coast fisheries, stated that “We’re at such a serious deficit that we’re going to be facing significant water shortages in the near future.”

In some counties, the rain has actually helped quite a bit. The wildlife received a good portion of rainfall that increased decent vegetation in Northern California, providing multiple good flowing rivers that pass through the Northern counties. However, the rivers became too much in some counties, destroying and flooding towns. 

If there is one thing the rainfall has done for California, it is showing that a storm like this is not enough to support the massive three-year drought that California still faces today.