California DroughtJanuary 17th, 2014 at 12:27 pm by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, News, Weather
California had their driest year in 2013 and this is turning out to be the driest winter. Note the 2 satellite pictures – one from 1/13/2013 and the one on the right is from 1/13/2014. Note the lack of snow in the mountains! Mammoth Mt. Ski Area has had only 48″ of snow all season (less than Grand Rapids). Last year they got over 147″ in December alone. Squaw Valley reports a base of only 21″ at 8,900 ft. elevation. Same at the Kirkwood Ski Area – a base of only 21″. On Thursday, snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mts. was only 17% of average. The Willits water agency, in Mendocino County says there is just a 100-day supply of water left. A persistent ridge over the Rockies has not only forced storm systems north of California, but the ridge has brought NW flow and incursions of cold, Arctic air to the Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast. The dry weather has enhanced the fire danger. Note that almost all fires out there now were started by humans, either accidentally or on purpose – that fires would not have occurred if the people had not started them. Many western fires are started by lightning, but without storms, you don’t get the lightning. The ridge and dry conditions will persist UFN – I don’t see the ridge breaking down anytime soon. The next week looks bone dry for California and much of Mexico and the western U.S. Extreme negative EPO prime driver of California drought/ridge and Great Lakes cold…negative Arctic Oscillation is another marker for cold air moving south into the Great Lakes.