Boy, what a difference an El Nino makes.  El Nino, the warming of ocean waters in the Equatorial Pacific, can wreak havoc on California weather. The current El Nino was classified as a moderate event by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Although we’ve had some gully washers this year, most of these storms have been moderate.  Santa Rosa is about one and one-third inches below normal in year-to-date precipitation.  There are variations of course, as evidenced by Cazadero which receives nearly 80 inches of rain per water year.  YTD has Cazadero at 66 inches.

The Press Democrat reported in Thursday’s paper Lake Mendocino is busting at the seams with water.  The story is the same around most of the North Coast.

Wednesday April 14, the south parking lot and boat ramp area was six feet underwater.

The south parking lot at Lake Mendocino is six feet underwater, Wednesday April 14, 2010. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2010

In February of 2009 Lake Mendocino looked like this from Highway 20…About 50% of normal.

After heavy rains in late February 2009, Lake Mendocino rose to 50% of normal for the year. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2009

On March 11, 2007 Lake Mendocino was pretty low.  Here it’s about 55% of normal…

The north beach of Lake Mendocino is seen at 55% of normal April 11, 2007. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2007

If you’re to think that storms are over for the season, look what happened in April of 2001:

At the 2,200-foot level on Elk Mountain Road in Lake County on Friday April 20, 2001, Tracy Stone of Lakeport took advantage of a spring snowstorm that hit Northern California. In addition to the snow that fell in parts of Mendocino and Lake counties, Sonoma County got close to an inch of rain Friday. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2001

El Nino, you’re our only hope!

Kent Porter