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El Nino’s Winter Storms Are No Cure-All for California Drought

The El Nino storms drenching California won’t suffice to solve the state’s drought and won’t permanently save the Central Valley’s vulnerable salmon, federal scientists are cautioning.

In an apolitical assessment that comes amid a highly political time, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration experts stress that this year’s El Nino bounty is useful and limited. It might well be followed, moreover, by a swing back to a different kind of weather complication called La Nina.

Flood Watch In North Bay As El Niño Storm Dumps Heavy Rain

The first of a pair of storms pounded Northern California on Thursday, bringing heavy bands of rain to the North Bay, causing minor flooding and mudslides, and raising the specter that the flood-prone Russian River might spill its banks.

The National Weather Service’s hazardous outlook remained in place for the most of the Bay Area as on-and-off downpours were forecast to continue Friday. Parts of Sonoma and Napa counties were expecting as much 4 inches of rain by Friday evening, igniting fear that a region thirsty for rain might get too much too fast.

A Behind-the-Scenes Battle to Divert L.A.’S Storm Water from Going to Waste

The storm had gathered power for days as it crossed the Northern Pacific, and now its outer band was uppercutting the coast. By the time Eric Batman arrived at work at 7 Monday morning, a hard west wind was driving rain and hail sideways against windows. Thunder reverberated across the L.A. Basin.

Batman reveled in El Niño’s long-overdue rumbling. His job, as senior civil engineer for the county Department of Public Works, is to keep as much rain as possible from escaping to the ocean.

California rebates for turf removal now appear dead on vine

As the chances that California’s drought will end this year become increasingly slim, the Metropolitan Water District is weighing the possibility of discontinuing its popular turf removal rebate program.

The MWD Finance and Insurance Committee met a few weeks ago to discuss the budget for the next two years. Currently, none of the proposed $59 million set aside for conservation programs is intended to be used for the turf program.

San Diego Region Gets a Break on Water Conservation Goals

State officials certified the San Diego region’s billion-dollar desalination plant as a drought resilient water supply. That plant in Carlsbad turns sea water into 50 million gallons of drinking water each day.

State recognition means the region’s mandatory water cutbacks are being eased from 20 percent, to about 13 percent. “Now the regulation acknowledges that we in San Diego County have invested in a drought resilient supply that does help us in providing that reliable water supply,” said Bob Yamada of the San Diego County Water Authority.