Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dry December not all that alarming

Just got off the phone with Sari Sommarstrom of the Scott River Water Trust, and she's plenty worried about the lack of rainfall so far this winter and what it could mean for the water year.

But former Record Searchlight weather guru Scott Mobley isn't all that concerned, according to an e-mail he sent blogger Marc Beauchamp:
December dry spells are a little more common in Redding, and in fact, December 1989 was completely rainless. So no record there. But with no real pattern change in sight through the rest of the month (at least according to current projections), this month will surely go down as one of the driest in over 100 years. [...]

December is traditionally one of the year's wettest months, so if we miss it, we pretty much lose our chances for an above-average water year. But a drastically dry December is not always cause for concern. Rains returned in winter and spring of 1957 and 1979. Season totals wound up below normal both years, but not disastrously so. The rainless December of 1989 came during the prolonged drought of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and indeed, the 1989/1990 water year was pretty pathetic (though nowhere near as dire as 1976/77).

This year, after Lake Shasta nearly topped out two seasons straight, we're probably in for a sub-par rainfall year. But one crummy year isn't a huge cause for concern, and odds are rains will resume in January and the season total may not be so sub-par. California can quickly make up rainfall deficits, and in fact, just a few major storms each year deliver the bulk of the state's rainfall.

Read his entire message here.

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