AccuWeather meteorologist breaks down impact of recent wild weather in Bay Area, state

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Thursday, March 2, 2023
Expert breaks down impact of recent wild weather in Bay Area, state
Accuweather meteorologist Paul Pastelok breaks down the impact of the recent wild weather in the Bay Area and California.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- This past year, residents in the Bay Area and California have experienced extremes, from record-breaking heat to rain and snowfall.

Paul Pastelok, lead long range forecaster and senior meteorologist at AccuWeather, says there are many positives to the added precipitation. It's a benefit for agriculture, eliminating the drought and giving us a longer ski season.

"A majority of the drought will be done across the state over the next month, with perhaps exception of the southeast part of the state and extreme northern areas. It has been a while since we have been able to say that," he said.

But there are some negatives to all of the rain and snow. A big concern is flooding.

RELATED: Half of California freed from drought after back-to-back storms drench state, report shows

The latest drought reports shows the recent back-to-back storms to drench California have improved drought conditions across the state, eliminating it in some places.

"If we go back, in 1997/98 -- a very wet and snowy wet season for California, right around New Year's Day into early January -- there was a series of warm, pineapple connection events that lead to tremendous flooding across the state. Yosemite Valley was hit hard. Campsites washed away, along with many buildings and structures. Any type of warm system adding rain in the lower elevations along with snow melt can lead to a significant flood event, maybe not like 1997/98, but bad," Pastelok says.

He says sea surface temperature anomalies are having an effect on the upper-level patterns, making them more amplified, especially on the west coast.

RELATED: Recent storms fill many CA reservoirs, but what does that mean for state's ongoing drought?

When it comes to wildfires, he says if we can shorten and interrupt the dry period with precipitation in May and June, we can try to hold back wildfire season.

"Eighty-five percent of the wildfires that develop are caused by people in the United States, probably leaning more toward 90% in California. The people of California are to blame for the water shortage, not the droughts every year. The increasing population in California is starting to catch up and there is just not enough water being produced for everyone. The drinking water shortage will always be a problem in California no matter the outcome of the wet season," Pastelok says.

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