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    Ken Clark

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    California Exceptional Drought Worsens

    March 13, 2014; 12:32 PM ET

    I keep hearing from some people how the storms at the end of February and the start of March had to have helped the California drought. That all the rain that fell in the lowlands and snow in the Sierra had to have had an impact. Right after the storms in my March 3, 2014, post, I was already pointing out that this was not the case. One set of storms does not end a three-year drought. In that post I stated, "The drought in California did not just develop this year, or in the last 12 months, but over the last three years. It is unrealistic to think one series of storms is going to have a huge impact on the long-term drought..."

    Now, two weeks later, here is more evidence that the short period of rain and mountain snow had little impact.

    Below is a comparison of the Drought Monitor maps for California from Feb. 18 (before the storms) and the one released today.

    FEB. 18, 2014

    MARCH 11, 2014

    Over this span of time the area coverage of D4 drought conditions (exceptional) has actually increased substantially from 14.62 percent to 22.37 percent of the area, covering the rich farming area of the Central Coast to the San Joaquin Valley. The D3-4 area (extreme drought) did come down a little from 68.30 to 65.89, mostly in southwestern California.

    I have already shown that many reservoirs in central and northern California are still at near-record low levels. The graph below shows the daily Sierra snowpack this year, compared to the previous two years and to normal.

    With no substantial rain and snow expected for at least another week, and a round of near-record temperatures likely in the Central Valley and southwestern California coming for this weekend, all of these stats are not going to get any better. In fact, there is a good chance of below- to well below-normal precipitation over the next couple of weeks.

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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