BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Water is back in Kern County and sure, that means the grass is green again.
As National Weather Service Meteorologist Andy Bollenbacher says, there are also bigger, more lasting impacts.
“Just due to the amount of rain that’s come down in these warm systems, we’ve been able to see improvements in the drought across the San Joaquin Valley,” Bollenbacher said.
After weeks of storm activity, nearly all of Kern County has been relegated from a category 3 Extreme Drought to a category 2 Severe Drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
It’s an unprecedented event in Bollenbacher’s five years with the NWS.
“This has been by far the most robust system I’ve seen since I got here,” Bollenbacher said.
You can see that water in the valley.
“It feels alive, or more alive. Fuller. Complete,” Bakersfield resident Buddy Graham said.
It’s in Truxtun Lake and the Park at Riverwalk.
“I didn’t think there would ever be no water here,” parkgoer Kevin Barron said. “But it looks great today, with the water.”
The Kern River Valley, though, has felt the storm system’s full effects. Waterfalls burst over cliffs and campsites swim, completely underwater.
While the storm is destructive in the short term, in the long-term, that’s a good thing, says Kern River Conservancy head Gary Ananian.
“All that water soaking in reignites the ecosystem,” Ananian said. “We’ve seen vegetation, everything just starts coming back to life after years of drought.”
Bollenbacher warns the ease in drought conditions may not last, but Ananian, and everyone else, will surely enjoy it while it does.