After one of the driest Januaries on record, Northern California is finally seeing rain through atmospheric rivers – ribbons of water vapor in the sky that build up during the state’s wet season, generally responsible for 30 to 50 percent of annual percipitation.

This winter, regions of high pressure diverted normal storms further North, with zero rainfall in San Francisco – a first since 1850, studies note. The system has shifted again allowing for the flow of moisture, yet the state is receiving less precipitation: 2-3 atmospheric rivers as opposed to 5-7 in years past.


This means the land is sucking up the water after a dry winter, leaving the state with a dismal snowpack and below-normal stores in many reservoirs.

This could mean a very dry California in years to come.