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El Niño Heat Peaks, But Impacts Still to Come

It looks like this El Niño — which will rank among the strongest on record — has passed its peak in terms of tropical ocean temperatures, but it’s not going away anytime soon. In fact, the biggest El Niño impacts on the U.S., like rain and snow for California, are probably still to come.


The country has already started to feel the influence of El Niño with a recent spate of storms that dumped much-needed precipitation on California. The cold winter months are when El Niño holds sway over North American weather patterns, generally leading to cooler and wetter weather over the southern tier of the U.S. and warmer and drier conditions over the northern parts of the country and southern Canada.

OPINION:Agencies Deserve Credit for Water Supply Investments

El Niño is finally making its presence felt with a series of welcome storms. Since we don’t yet know if it will put a significant dent in California’s epic drought, state regulators are preparing the next version of an emergency regulation that has required statewide mandatory conservation in urban areas since last June.


An initial framework released last month by the State Water Resources Control Board staff, however, is raising deep concerns that the regulation could take a critical tool off the table – local water projects developed to buffer the effects of drought.

Southern California Agencies Work to Capture, Store El Nino Stormwater

Much of the rain that fell on Southern California last week flowed to the Pacific Ocean, but a good amount was captured by local water agencies to help replenish the region’s local water supply.

With California entering what may be its fifth year of drought, water agencies are moving to capture and store more.


“That was the 19th-, 20th-century thinking: ‘Let’s get that water out of here as fast as possible,’ ” said Deborah Bloome, senior director of policy at TreePeople, a nonprofit group that is working to increase rain capture in the Los Angeles area.

Between Storms, Officials Urge Safety

A week after storms flooded parts of the region and covered some roads with several feet of water; officials are reminding drivers that they should not, despite how safe they think they might be, try to drive a car through a flooded street.


“Please do not drive around the barricades, they are there for a reason,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said at a news conference Monday. “When you see some of that standing water and you’re not sure how deep it is, do not drive around the barricades.”

Californians Told To Keep Saving Water, Even As Floods Approach

A record-breaking storm has been battering California, as well as other states throughout the nation, for more than two weeks now due to the El Niño, a term given to the warming of the Pacific Ocean which causes drastic fluctuations in weather all over the world.


“A parade of strong Pacific storms characteristic of a strong El Niño event will batter the state this week and will likely bring damaging flooding by the time the second storm in the series rolls through on Wednesday”.

California Drought: How Will We Know When It’s Over?

Now that 2016 has gotten off to a wet start, with a series of El Niño storms drenching California in recent days, the question is turning up with increasing frequency at dinner parties and coffee shops:


“How will we know when the drought is over?”


The answer, water experts say, is more complicated than you’d think.


Simply put: The drought could end this year, according to state water officials. But for that to happen, as California enters the fifth year of the worst drought in the state’s history, rains will have to continue arriving in pounding, relentless waves through April to fill depleted reservoirs and dry rivers and push the Sierra snowpack to at least 150 percent of normal.

California Struggles over Water Storage for Farmers

Keeping California’s agricultural land in production depends on fixing its growing water problems.


As the state considers its options, many farmers want to revive the approach that worked for them in the last century: building dams. Not far from this tiny hamlet northeast of Fresno, for instance, the government is thinking of building a new artificial lake just above an existing one.


Doubts are growing about whether spending huge sums to pour high walls of concrete are the best way to solve California’s water problems.

What Does El Niño Precipitation Mean For California Drought?

The drought in California has been going on for five years now. But if you’ve turned on the TV recently, or, for that matter, if you live in California, you may have noticed it’s raining there – a lot.


The storms this past week are fueled by an El Nino, which is essentially a temperature change in the Pacific that has brought unseasonably warm temperatures to much of the country and a whole lot of precipitation, especially in Southern and central California. The question is – what difference does any of this rain make to California’s historic drought?

How an Anonymous Blogger Stands Out On California Water Policy

On a Thursday in February four years ago, the self-described “low-level civil servant” who produces, an anonymous blog about California water, posted an existential lament about life amid the policy wonks.


“Sometimes I wonder what terrible thing I did wrong in a previous lifetime that I must now spend so much of my time in windowless hotel ballrooms, listening to people read slides to me,” wrote the blogger.