2013 was California’s driest year since 1849, when the state started measuring rainfall. Low rainfall measurements broke prior records in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shasta and up to Eugene, OR. Experts say that if rain doesn’t fall soon, the worst may be yet to come.
“The 2013–14 water year is off to a rotten start,” the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) wrote in their analysis. As of January 10th the Sierra snow pack, which is responsible for about a third of California’s water, was at 84% below average.
Meteorologist say the cause for this dry spell is a massive high pressure zone, about 4 miles high and 2,000 miles long, that’s been blocking storms for more than a year. This zone typically comes and goes year to year — but this year, it stayed put and the consequences can be dire.
Some of the potential consequences California faces:
- Combine this dryness with the Santa Ana winds, the risk of huge wildfires grow exponentially!
- Impact on agriculture and food cost, and the jobs in this sector
- Impact to water and energy bills
- Impact to fresh water recreation, such as fishing, swimming and boating
- Water supply shortage for rural residents — can creep to cities if it gets bad enough
- Water-use restrictions — less showers, car washes, etc.
California’s Governor Jerry Brown will officially declare a drought soon. Let’s hope it starts raining soon!
California’s Governor Jerry Brown officially declared a drought emergency in the state today. Speaking at a San Francisco news conference standing next to charts and photos showing California’s poor precipitation and snowpack, Brown called on every Californian to cut back at least 20% of their water use.
“We ought to be ready for a long, continued, persistent effort to restrain our water use,” Brown said. The announcement comes as state reservoirs are at critical low levels and cities have initiated water-rationing measures. Lawmakers, activists and the agriculture industry have urged the governor to declare the emergency in recent weeks.
While the governor has downplayed the effect of the official declaration, people affected by the drought say it will be an important tool to help California focus on finding solutions for the problem.
How will the drought affect your wallet? Watch the video:
Stay safe! Know Before™.
The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team