Monday January 30, 2023


California is experiencing a record drought. ​​October 2019 to October 2022 was the state’s driest three-year period on record going back to 1896.

California is also experiencing record rainfall. Over the past several weeks, nine atmospheric rivers – huge columns of atmospheric water vapor that track with the weather and each contain the equivalent of a Mississippi River’s worth of water, according to NOAA – have dumped 32 trillion gallons of water on the state, bringing damaging floods and mudslides.

Both of those extremes are true at the same time—and it leads to the obvious question: Is all of the rain helping to end the drought?

While that debate has gotten a lot of air time, given the seriousness of the situation I’m eager to broaden the conversation to a more important one: How is California—and every state—preparing for the era of climate extremes?

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