Lake Shasta rises only 8 feet in February, despite snow and rain
February finished with a flurry of snow and rainy weather, but it did little to fill North State reservoirs and bring an end to the region's years-long drought.
February ended with just under 4 inches of measurable precipitation at the Redding Regional Airport, including the snow that fell over Redding last week and earlier this week, according to the National Weather Service. The normal precipitation for the month is about 5.5 inches, the weather service says.
Redding received 5 inches of snow last Friday at the airport, but the water content of the snow measured much less than that, said Katrina Hand, a weather service meteorologist.
Lake Shasta, meanwhile, rose only 8 feet during February, leaving the reservoir further behind average for the date than when the month began.
Shasta and Trinity reservoirs store water that is used in large areas throughout the state for agricultural, municipal and environmental purposes.
Read more:After historically bad drought in 2022, here's how North State's water year is shaping up
On Feb. 1, Lake Shasta was at 86% of historical average for the date, but as of Feb. 28, the reservoir was at 84% of average, according to the California Department of Water Resources. However, the lake was a little fuller at the end of the month ― 60% full on Feb. 28, compared to 57% full on Feb. 1.
Trinity Lake fared about the same as Shasta during February, according to the state. The reservoir finished the month at 33% of capacity and 48% of its historical average for Feb. 28, according to state statistics.
Trinity was at 31% capacity on Feb. 1 and 49% of average for the date, according to the state.
However, there's a difference in the way Shasta and Trinity reservoirs fill, according to state and federal water officials. Shasta typically is filled by rainwater runoff, while Trinity is filled with snowmelt, which usually happens later in the spring when the weather turns warmer.
While February finished wet, there were only 10 days with measurable precipitation during the month, Hand said.
Read more:Bureau: 'March will tell the story' of whether California's drought is over
So as March began, the U.S. Drought Monitor still classified large swaths of the North State, including Shasta, Siskiyou and Tehama counties, in a "severe" drought.
Part of the reason behind the lingering drought has been the dearth of rain the past three years. In February 2022, Redding received 0.02 inches of rain, according to weather service data. February 2021 was also dry, with 1.9 inches falling during the month.
The Mount Shasta area also remained below average for February, the weather service said. The area received just under 4 inches of precipitation for the month, while the February average is 6.41 inches. But it was an improvement over 0.09 inches Mount Shasta received in February 2022.
Read more:Snow levels in Mt. Shasta, Northern California more than twice that of 2022
But conditions are expected to change as another storm is expected in the region this weekend.
Expect breezy conditions in the North State on Wednesday.
Another winter storm is in the forecast for this weekend, with rain forecast in the valley and lower elevations and moderate to heavy snow in the foothills from Saturday to Monday, the weather service said.
Redding could receive a half-inch to an inch of rain from the coming storm, the weather service said.
The weather service cautioned drivers heading into the mountains that there is still plenty of snow in the foothills and higher elevations.
Motorists should expect to see from 5 inches to 3 feet of snow at elevations from 2,000 feet to 3,000 feet and 3 feet to 6 feet above 3,000 feet in elevation, the weather service said.
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