In just one week, the mountains of Northern California went from historic drought to impressive snowpack, mostly due to the rare category 5 atmospheric river that drenched the area this week. Now, NASA has released satellite imagery that gives a visual overview how the area went from rags to riches.
The photos, taken from NASA’s Worldview tool, shows a completely bare California on October 16. With zero snowpack seen in the image, it shows the dire situation the drought had delivered to the entire west coast. The second photo, taken just 10 days later on October 26, has the area covered in white snowpack. It’s a stark difference and shows just how historic this month’s precipitation has been.
For a fun comparison, you can see what the massive snowfall looks like from the ground here.
The snowfall was a welcomed sight in the region. Nearby wildfires were completely extinguished and rain and snow quickly replenished the nearby waterways which were in dire need due to the drought. Although there were certainly some issues with a storm of this magnitude, it was overall a positive weather event for NorCal.
How much impact will the rare storm have on our region? Probably a lot. According to the California Department of Water Resources, approximately 20 percent of the snowpack from an annual water year has already fallen on the Sierra. With typical precipitation not falling on the area until late-November, we have a great chance of surpassing the typical water averages, putting a significant dent in the ongoing drought.
And according to several meteorologists, precipitation is expected to continue in the upcoming weeks:
10 Day precip outlook continues to trend to above average numbers especially for the North Bay. Strong rain (and Sierra snow) season momentum looks like it will continue through next week at least (2/2) 🙌 #CAwx pic.twitter.com/oTqew9HGKu— Rob Mayeda (@RobMayeda) October 27, 2021
Let’s hope then rain continues. Keep rain dancing: