Could the end of California’s drought be near?
For years, the State of California has been suffering from severe drought conditions, a product of diminished rainfall . The first month of 2015 was one of the driest Januarys in years. How many years? The last time San Francisco recorded zero rainfall for the month of January was back in the Gold Rush, 165 years ago. Help could be on the way as experts are forecasting massive rain events for California including a phenomenon known as an atmospheric river.*
“When California’s drought does finally end, it could happen with a torrent of winter storms that stream across the Pacific, dumping much of the year’s rain in potentially catastrophic downpours. These powerful storms known as atmospheric rivers have broken 40% of California’s drought since 1950, recent research shows.” – LA Times
The much discussed Pineapple Express was the last atmospheric river to hit California. Occurring in late 2014, the event brought heavy rain from the Hawaiian Islands to California causing flooding, rock slides and landslides. A nearly identical event is predicted for later this week. While the onslaught of rain is a welcome sight, it can also have consequences when delivered in such abundance. More and more development throughout California has led to less surface area with the natural vegetation replaced by rooftops and asphalt. The excess stormwater has no place to infiltrate which leads to flooding. One manner in which the Civil Engineering community is addressing this through deep infiltration of stormwater. One of the most cost effective ways to achieve adequate infiltration is through the installation of a MaxWell drywell. The high-tech MaxWell drywell provide pre-treatment of stormwater prior to discharge into the subgrade.
*Before we get too excited that the end of the the drought may be near, keep in mind that California would need 75-inches of rain by September 30, 2015 to officially end this drought.