Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 to be California's driest year on record

As we finish out the final days of 2013, the calendar year is likely to go down as the driest year in California history.

From AccuWeather:
Almost all of the Golden State is under either a severe or extreme drought with no end in sight heading into 2014.

This prolonged drought has contributed to the heightened risk of wildfires over the past several months and is raising major concerns in the agriculture industry.


Looking at the forecast through the remainder of 2013 and into the beginning of 2014, it appears as though very little rain -- if any at all -- will fall across the state.

"With the huge agricultural community already burdened by high prices of water and big restrictions on the amount of water allocated, this bleak outlook could be quite significant," said Ken Clark, AccuWeather.com Western U.S. Expert.

"This much lack of rain over such a long period of time could prove to be catastrophic for farmers."


Looking at the six most populated cities in California, San Diego is the only city that has received more than 50 precent of its normal yearly rainfall. That being said, San Diego is still well below their normal yearly rainfall total.

Although there are still a few days for these numbers to change, it is unlikely that they will do so with no rain in the forecast for any of these cities through the rest of 2013.


California is currently in the middle of their 'rainy season,' which is considered to last from October to March.

This time frame is known as the 'rainy season' due to the fact that during these months, there is typically a greater chance for rain than the other months of the year.

With only three months left in the current rainy season, many Californians are hoping that things will pick up to help battle the extreme drought.
All may not be lost -- yet. As former Redding "Weather Geek" Scott Mobley told blogger Marc Beauchamp recently:
"Calendar years contain parts of two water years, and it's conceivable you could get an exceptionally dry winter and spring followed by a dry fall, as we are getting this calendar year, creating the impression of extreme drought when the prior fall was unusually wet (as fall 2012 was) and the coming winter and spring could still bring abundant rain and snow (fingers crossed!), generating two below-par, but not catastrophically dry water years. [...]

"Yes, it's true the bulk of the rainfall season is still ahead. But we've lost December -- the ridging over the eastern Pacific shunting the jet stream through western Canada shows no signs of breaking down before year's end, and could well persist into January for all we know. Once you lose fall you pretty much lose any chance for a drought-busting, above-average rainfall year. The best we can hope for now is a decently wet winter and spring that could still generate near-average precip this water year and make up a good part of the deficit. And, California weather being what it is, it's still possible to get truly epic rainfall January through March with storms continuing into spring that could even deliver above-average precip for the water year. But it's not likely."
In calendar year 2013, Redding has recorded 12.8 inches of rain -- a mere fraction of the 33.54 inches we usually get in a year, according to the National Weather Service. Since July 1, we've gotten 3.5 inches; our normal accumulation by this time of year is 12.68 inches.

As the Capital Press has reported, Gov. Jerry Brown has set up a task force of top state officials to try to help farmers and others make the best of the situation, and Department of Water Resources experts will give a presentation on the drought to the state Board of Food and Agriculture on Jan. 7 in Sacramento.

For our coverage of the meeting and the issue, keep an eye on CapitalPress.com.

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