2013/14 = California’s Hottest Winter on Record:

Miles Clark |
Fire tornado in SoCal in May, 2014.
Fire tornado in SoCal in May, 2014.

It’s no secret that California has been hot and dry lately.  Three bad winters in a row can hurt a lot of feelings.  Actually, it’s starting to hurt more than just feelings.  Farmers are feeling it, skiers and riders are feeling it, water sports humans are feeling it, the fire scorched earth is feeling it, and anything that drinks water is starting to feel it.

NOAA graph clearly showing that temperatures in California have been steadily going up and that 2013 was by far the hottest on record

It’s no help that the wet season is officially over in California.  There is really no precipitation hope in sight until October.  That’s over 4 months away…


California just had it’s hottest year on record.  Sure it was dry this year, but to add insult to injury it was also hot.  Temperatures in California have been consistently setting records for the past 6 months.

NOAA has confirmed that California just had it’s hottest winter in 119 years of record keeping.  Multiple California locations set records for the earliest 100-degree days in the year.  Some of these heat waves occurred in conjunction with ripping, offshore Santa Ana winds in SoCal which caused some terrible wildfires.  This hot, windy situation is normal in the fall, but uber rare in the spring and not a good sign for things to come.

Some of these fires even created fire tornados this past May in SoCal:

The reason California has been so warm and dry is persistent high pressure.  Persistent high pressure set up shop around California all winter (and all last winter) and caused the jet stream to divert to our north.

Where is that high pressure now?  Right where it’s been for the past couple year, sitting on us, blocking all storms from coming our way.

Current California snowpack numbers.
Current California snowpack numbers.

 As of June 1st, 2014 there is effectively no snowpack left in California’s Sierra Nevada.  Our reservoirs are hurting, our farmer’s canals are at 50% of normal or lower, and fire risk is at an all time high.

The good news?  There isn’t really any yet.  El Nino is forming, but NOAA has told us that it El Nino is 50/50 for precipitation in California.  Sometimes helping, sometimes hurting.


What can you do?  Conserve water.  Conserve lots of water.  We may not want to admit it, but we are in a severe drought and there is no end in sight.

drought unnamed-21

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3 thoughts on “2013/14 = California’s Hottest Winter on Record:

  1. “a lot of snow above 8000 feet”

    Probably more like 10,000 feet. But 2013-14 was in general a drier winter the farther south in the Sierra you go. So the higher mountains in the southern Sierra that normally would retain snow farther into summer will lose it unusually early this year. In the ski areas 2013-14 was overall the second least amount of snow to 1976-77. This has been the driest 3-year stretch and will be tied for driest 4th year stretch if next year is average. For sustained drought the 6-year period from 1986-87 through 1991-92 had the largest cumulative snow deficit. Remember how low Lake Tahoe was in summer 1992? Fortunately 1992-93 was huge and refilled the lake in one season.

  2. There is actually a lot of snow in the Tahoe basin , a lot of snow above 8000 feet , mostly east facing slopes . I bet mammoth still has a ton of snow left

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