'Considerable' Long-Term Drought In California

Published on February 19th, 2016

Ed Joyce
February 18, 2016
Capital Public Radio

Record high temperatures and a dry spell in California the past week has "renewed concerns of early snowmelt" in the Sierra and "considerable long-term" drought impacts remain.

"In the core western drought areas of California and western Nevada, dry, warm weather during the period resulted in no change to this week’s drought depiction," reports the U.S. Drought Monitor in its update released Feb. 18. "While much of the region has experienced favorable precipitation during the 2015-16 Water Year – and subsequent removal of the "S" (short-term) drought Impact Type – considerable long-term (L) impacts remain."

The weekly update also says "there are notable pockets of short-term dryness over central and southern California contributing to the long-term drought signal."

021816 DRO West 20160216_west_trd.jpg

The Drought Monitor intensity levels are Abnormally Dry, Moderate, Severe, Extreme and Exceptional drought.

This week in California: 99.7 percent is abnormally dry, 94 percent moderate, 81 percent severe, 61 percent extreme and 38 percent is in exceptional drought.

CA-Res 021816 - DRO Capture.jpg

"Adding to the drought are localized areas where it has been a drier-than-normal Water Year to date; counties near and west of Sacramento have averaged 60 to 75 percent of normal precipitation since October 1, while coastal locales from Los Angeles north to Santa Barbara have reported on average 35 to 50 percent of normal rainfall during the current Water Year."


CA SWE 021816 - DRO Capture2.jpg


Looking ahead, the National Weather Service 6- to 10-day outlook for February 23 – 27 calls for above-normal temperatures across much of the western and central U.S., with below-normal precipitation anticipated in southern California.


021816 DRO Temps 814temp_new.jpg

The 8- to 14-day outlook into early March also shows below-normal precipitation and above-normal temperatures for much of California.


021816 DRO precip 814prcp_new.jpg


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