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.
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.
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.