UPDATED: Driest Year Ever in California, Drought Officially Declared

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.

Geopotential height anomalies for winter 2012-2013 to now - Credit: NOAA/ESRL

The high pressure zone, winter 2012-2013 to now – Credit: NOAA/ESRL

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.

Another view of the high pressure zone - Credit: WeatherWest.com

Another view of the high pressure zone – Credit: WeatherWest.com

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.
2013 was the driest year on record for most of California - Credit: WRCC/DRI 2013 was the driest year on record for most of California - Credit: WRCC/DRI

2013 was the driest year on record for most of California – Credit: WRCC/DRI

California’s Governor Jerry Brown will officially declare a drought soon. Let’s hope it starts raining soon!

 

UPDATE (1/17/2014):

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.

Gov. Jerry Brown, bottom, signs a drought proclamation while declaring a state of emergency in San Francisco, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. With a record-dry year, reservoir levels under strain and no rain in the forecast, California Gov. Jerry Brown formally proclaimed the state in a drought Friday, confirming what many already knew. Brown made the announcement in San Francisco amid increasing pressure in recent weeks from the state's lawmakers, including Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Gov. Jerry Brown, bottom, signs a drought proclamation while declaring a state of emergency in San Francisco, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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

 

Comments

comments

This entry was posted in Climate Change.
  • Share and let your friends and family #knowb4:
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to KnowBefore and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • @WeatherBug on Twitter

    • RT @NITTEC: I-90 Westbound [Updated] Closed from Exit 46 (Henrietta) to Pennsylvania state line due to winter weather -
    • RT @JimCantore: THE GRAND RAPIDS MI. MONTHLY SNOWFALL CURRENTLY STANDS AT 28.4 INCHES. THIS BREAKS THE OLD RECORD OF 28.2 INCHES SET IN NOVEMBER 1895. -
    • Bills #Lakeeffect snowout rescheduled for Monday, November 24 at 7 p.m. In Detroit @ Ford Field. #BuffaloBills vs. #NewYorkJets -
  • Categories

  • WeatherBug Apps

    Know Before — Download WeatherBug today to get Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts:

  • Archives