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California Drought

Will Rain Make A Dent? California Drought by the Numbers

Image: A dry field in the Central Valley near Firebaugh, Calif.
A dry field in the Central Valley near Firebaugh, Calif.John Brecher / NBC News

California residents are bracing for a few inches of rain this week, as a pair of storms aim for the Golden State. The Sierra Nevada Mountains are expecting a few feet of snow, and a few inches of rain are expected to briefly relieve parched parts of the state, but neither are expected to overturn drought conditions that have persisted for months.

Here's how this week's weather event breaks down:

2 inches: One estimate of the amount of rain expected in the Bay Area this weekend.

5.85 inches: The amount of rain the that San Francisco has received since July 2013, only 35 percent of its usual quota for the time of year.

9.52 inches: The rain deficit of the Los Angeles region, which received 0.23 inches so far this month.

100%: The fraction of the state facing dry to severe drought conditions as of Feb. 18.

17 percent: The current capacity of the Folsom Lake near Sacramento, which was up to 97 percent in July 2011.

$44.7 billion: The value of California's agriculture industry, which could be hit hard by the lack of rain.

434: The number of years since a drought this bad hit California. A paleoclimatologist at UC Berkeley who tracks long-term climate patterns by counting tree rings reckons the region hasn’t been this dry since the year 1580.

487: The number of California wildfires so far this year, according to the Forestry and Fire Protection Department, and fire units are bracing for more as drought conditions persist. The dry season contributed to the Rim fire which destroyed 257,314 acres in August last year, making it the third largest blaze in California’s history.

2,000: Acreage of barren slopes in the San Gabriel mountains, burned dry by January wildfires. Towns at the foothills are sandbagging property and bracing for mudslides that are expected to follow the rain.

$1.7 billion: The extra cash California residents spent on energy bills during the 2007-2009 drought.

$1 billion: The cost of the Carlsbad Desalination Project, due to go live in 2016, the largest desalination facility in the Western Hemisphere. It is projected to supply 300,000 residents — about 7 percent of the state — with water.