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Driest Year Ever in California (and what it means for 2014!)

Posted on January 16, 2014

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, Oregon. 

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.

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 –

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

California’s Governor Jerry Brown will officially declare a drought soon. 

Let’s hope it starts raining before that happens !

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