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A 'Miracle March' could start to replenish Central Coast reservoirs

Randol White - KCBX News

Unusually warm and dry weather is expected for the final day of February, similar conditions to what was seen along the Central Coast for most of the month.

February saw only one storm system move through the area, and it dropped less than an inch of rain in most locations.

As a result, the water volume at Central Coast reservoirs remain in a serious category D-4 drought situation.

Lake Nacimiento, which sits on the Monterey-San Luis Obispo County line, has shown some improvement, rising from 17 to 22 percent of capacity, but it's still well below its seasonal average.

Meanwhile, conditions at Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County show the reservoir at just below 15 percent. That lake is so low, officials are considering a plan to move a pumping barge to a deeper area of the lake. That idea is not popular with the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District.

Help for all the local reservoirs is on the way however, if predictions hold. PG&E Meteorologist John Lindsey said Friday that the latest computer models show we may be in for a major change in the weather.

"The good news, it looks like the Central Coast is going to go back into a wet weather pattern for the months of March, April, and even into May," said Lindsey. "The bad news, even if we do get well-above-average precipitation for those months—it will certainly put a dent in the drought, but unfortunately it won't completely mitigate it."

Lindsey says water conservation still has the biggest bang for the buck in terms of drought mitigation.

The State of California released information this week showing the Central Coast conserved at a rate of about 18 percent in January, well below the governor's 25 percent mandate.