The Central Coast is so thirsty for rain that a large retention basin in Santa Maria is nearly bone dry only days after it was filled to the brim by that big rainmaking storm that tore through the area last week.
The rain in this current storm system, along with another one expected to move in later this week, is welcome and needed precipitation amid the ongoing historic drought.
But the California Department of Water Resources says reservoir levels at important locations across northern and central California remain at far less than 50 percent capacity and that includes Lakes Nacimiento, Lopez, Cachuma and Casitas here on the Central Coast.
So far, all the rain has not even come close to making a dent in the drought conditions.
“The good side is that the reservoirs can absorb a huge amount of precipitation now because they are so low”, says Eric Kurth with the National Weather Service, “so if you want to look at the bright side of the drought, its that we have the capacity in the reservoirs to absorb this water.”
The department of Water Resources says the biggest impact, if its going to happen, will be between January and March when accumulated rainfall and the snow pack in the upper elevations can make the most difference in drought conditions the rest of the year.
Locally, water officials on the Central Coast say we need several major storms running back to back for the next few months that will saturate the ground and create runoff into our rivers and creeks and fill our reservoirs before anyone can begin to talk about the drought being over.