SAN DIEGO — Rain storms and snow over the last few months significantly improved drought conditions across California.
Experts say there are negative and positive impacts from all these storms.
CALFIRE San Diego tweeted out photos of crews it sent to rescue residents in the San Bernardino County Mountains hit hard by snow storms.
“Digging out people,” said Michael Cornett with CALFIRE San Diego. “They’re digging out gas meters right now, clearing roads and providing any emergency services that the people need.”
CALFIRE sent eight engines, two hand crews and a total of 56 personnel.
“We responded to landslides, medical aids, traffic collisions, lots of storm runoff and swift water rescue-type calls,” Cornett said.
The total snow pack for California is now 190% of the average for this date, according to the California Department of Water Resources. Experts say that is a major boost for the state’s reservoirs.
“We’re starting to rebuild our reservoirs,” said Dr. Pat Abbott with San Diego State University. “Of our eight major reservoirs in California, three of them are above their usual average for this time. Five others are catching up, so we’re catching up there. Not to mention the fact how we’re loading the soil with water to allow the plants to hydrate and be ready for dry times.”
The recent storms have also helped to lift nearly half of California out of drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
“I don’t want to get over excited,” Abbott said. “I appreciate where we are. If we have another year like this, that will really be good because then we will be starting to build ahead of things and be better able to handle droughts.”
But more rain also leads to more grass and brush which could fuel dangerous wildfires later on.
“The problem that we have with that is when the grass cures in about May, it could create receptive fuel bed for embers once the bushes catch fire, the embers are going to create spot fires,” Cornett said.
Firefighters also warn if you do head up to enjoy the snow in the mountains this weekend to be prepared with food, water and proper supplies.