California Would Need A Ridiculous Amount Of Rain To End Its Drought​

California has been having a bit of a rainy season lately, so much so that some people are asking if we're finally coming to the end of its three-year long drought. The answer is almost certainly not. Here's the numbers on how much water California would need to see the drought's end — and, fair warning, it's a lot.

Top image: Folsom reservoir, California Department of Water Resources / via JPL

NOAA ran two projections on how much rain we would need to see between now and September to end the drought, the first to see how much rain it would take to put California within the bottom 20% range of average accumulated precipitation and the second to see how much it would take to pull it up to the exact halfway point.


In both cases, the average rainfall would need to exceed the average by over 200%. Or, to put it another way, California would need to see at least 38 inches of rain or snow between last month and the end of September. And the most it's ever seen in that time period is just under 30.

But, while the drought doesn't appear to be going anywhere, the news isn't all bad. While the National Weather Service's latest projections show that the drought won't be getting better (and may even intensify) this winter, at least the southern portion of the state may start to see relief by this spring. The drought won't be over, of course, but it may be slightly less severe.

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