Written by Lucas Murawsky (News Writer)
This past year we have only 50% of our normal rainfall in California. With summer around the corner, that leaves us with the possibility of a drought, along with water restrictions, and wildfire danger. According to the National Weather Service, this rainy season is the fourth driest on record.
As of Thursday, April 22, the top-level also known as the “Exceptional” level, covers 5 percent of California, the extreme level covers 50 percent, while the severe drought covers 85 percent, and the abnormally dry drought covers 100 percent of California. Lakes and reservoirs remain well below average capacity, due to the low rain amount, as well as low snowpack this year. “The US Drought Monitor has been showing a steadily worsening meteorological and agricultural drought conditions,” said the Warning Coordination Meteorologist, Brian Garcia of the National Weather Service. “Moving forward through the rest of the water year, which runs from 1 Oct – 30 Sept, there is no chance that we will reach normal precipitation. Therefore, the expectation is that drought conditions will continue to deepen, taking us beyond severe drought” he said.
On Wednesday, April 21, California Governor Gavin Newsom, issued a drought emergency for two counties, Mendocino and Sonoma county. Newsom also made an executive order, to allow people to prepare for water shortages, faster than usual.
Under Wednesday’s order, the state’s Water Resource Control Board, sent out warnings to 40,000 water rights owners to start conserving water now. They are also allowed to reduce water rights to counties that do not conserve. Local governments are also able to place restrictions on residential areas that do not conserve water.
Along with the drought and water restrictions, California is in danger of another devastating fire season. “This last winter we really only had one decent storm for Santa Cruz County and impacted east county most. This late January storm provided too much water too fast. So while the vegetation did its best to soak it in, there simply was too much too fast and a lot ran off without being absorbed. All that to say, the grasses, brushes, and trees are parched and already showing signs of rapid drying.” Garcia said. “If there is a spark under strong gusty winds, we could see more large fires this season. Remember, there is only one natural cause of wildfire starts and that’s lightning. All other starts are human-caused in some way shape or form.”
Under these severe drought conditions, the people of California are asked to please reduce the amount of water they use and try to conserve as much water as possible. At this time, it does not look like we are going to get much more rain.