Jonah Vu and Kristen Fernandez
We’re well into the 4th year of the California drought, and the effects are harsher than ever. Last January, Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency and have since issued numerous Executive Orders to decrease water usage and take action to make water immediately available.
As for California agriculture, the Central Valley suffered $800 million in crop revenue, and the total statewide economic cost was $2.2 billion in 2014.
This is the third worst drought in history recorded in California, but future forecasting of rain has given hope for people; however, will it be enough to counteract the effects of the drought?
Scientists have monitored El Niño, a climate change that affects the United States every few years, to see if it will help end the nonstop drought. El Niño is a series of winds that carry across the Pacific Ocean, causing drastic weather change and warmer waters usually occurring around December, and can last for up to a year, although the effects may last even longer.
The appearance of El Niños are irregular, taking place every two to seven years, but the most recent memorable one was in 1977-1978. It was the strongest El Niño recorded in history, causing 17 deaths and half a billion dollars in repairs in California. Over 7 inches of rain fell in parts of Orange County in one day, and the damage caused by flooding caused distress to everyone.
It is difficult to predict whether the forecasted El Niño will be as devastating as the one years ago, but will heavy rain even make a difference?
Even with heavy rain, there may not be enough water to deter the drought. California needs about three trillion gallons of water to replace what we have lost, which may take about three years. Scientists have said that no matter how much rain El Nino brings us, it will not be enough to end the drought within a year.
California would need up to three times its average rain and snowfall, and El Niño may only bring double the average.
Even so, the rain still poses a threat through flooding and stormy weather. The odds of El Niño ending the drought soon is nearly impossible, but the rain is still much needed to help our parched state.