Mountain View Voice

News - February 14, 2014

Rainy weekend helps, but drought remains

The parched Bay Area got a soaking last weekend, but not enough to alleviate drought concerns, weather and state water officials said today.

The state Department of Water Resources watched reservoir levels go up over the weekend, but Northern California reservoirs are still well below their capacity, department spokesman Doug Carlson said.

"It was a fairly small storm," Carlson said. "We would need a succession of storms every single day to get back to average."

He advised residents to continue using water sparingly.

"Conservation efforts are still totally encouraged," he said.

Marty Grimes, a spokesman for the Santa Clara Valley Water District called the recent cloud burst a "welcome start," but warned that the region is still in the midst of a serious drought.

"This weekend's storms are projected to produce some decent run-off into our reservoirs," Grimes said via email. "But we're in a deep hole. We'd need several series of storm systems like this one from now through April to come close to an average year."

The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is hovering at about 25 percent of its normal level despite mountain storms over the weekend, Carlson said.

In the Bay Area, the heaviest rain fell in the North Bay.

According to the National Weather Service, about 20 inches of rainfall was recorded on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County and in Cazadero in Sonoma County over the weekend.

Santa Rosa recorded 5.5 inches total from Friday, Saturday and Sunday, forecaster Steve Anderson said

"As soon as you cross the Golden Gate Bridge, rainfall totals dropped off," he said.

In San Francisco, the same time period saw 2.67 inches of precipitation, while further south in San Jose there was just under a quarter-inch of rain.

He said that the region needs to have consistent rainfall for the next two months in order for water for water levels to get back to normal.

And that's why locals still need to do their part to help conserve water, Grimes said. "These storms won't change the need for people to cut their water use. We still need their help."

—Bay City News Service. Nick Veronin contributed to this report.

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