Extreme Drought Returns to Northern California: “Challenging Summer for Firefighters,” Fire Weather Researcher Says

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Northern California is facing the possibility of extreme drought this year, U.S. hydrologists say. Photo by U.S. Drought Monitor.

Drought has returned to Northern California this year with hydrologists calling it ‘extreme.’ Severe drought (D-2) has also expanded south into California’s Bay area, according to NBC meteorologist Rob Mayeda.

SJSU Department of Meteorology & Climate Science’s Dr. Craig Clements, Fire Weather Laboratory Director says that based on the current drought prediction models, it “sounds like it’s going to be a challenging summer for firefighters.” His interview with NBC’s Rob Mayeda can be watched below.

The U.S. Drought Monitor wrote in a summary regarding the western portion of the United States:

“Cooler than normal temperatures dominated the region, with departures of 9-12 degrees below normal over the Rocky Mountains and 3-6 degrees below normal over the Southwest and into the Great Basin. Temperatures were near normal to 3-6 degrees above normal over most of California, Oregon, and Washington. Some pockets of precipitation in the region were observed, but this was mostly a dry week over much of the area. In response to the continued dryness, a new area of extreme drought was introduced this week in northern California and southwest Oregon. These areas are experiencing widespread impacts to the agricultural sector as well as those systems not impacted by or benefiting from stored water. Drought areas expanded in and intensified over much of Oregon while abnormally dry conditions expanded over western Washington. Due to the good late-season snowpack in Idaho and western Montana, some areas of abnormally dry conditions were improved this week. Southern Idaho showed degradation this week with drought areas expanding and abnormally dry conditions spreading into southwest portions of the state. Far northeast Montana did see abnormally dry conditions spread south this week. A new area of severe drought was introduced into central Utah with an expansion of moderate drought conditions as well, while severe drought was expanded over most of southern Colorado and into northern New Mexico.”

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