Ken Clark

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More Drought Misery Coming

February 14, 2014; 1:35 PM ET

President Obama was in Fresno Friday to see and hear for himself the severity of the California drought and its impact on farmers and ranchers. While he offered federal help for the loss of livestock and crops that is expected to occur, nobody can offer the help that is really needed: RAIN.

We all know that late last week and weekend brought heavy rain to a part of north-central California. The problem with that series of storms is that it covered a relatively small geographical. The rain fell north of the worst drought area (per the Drought Monitor) and south of the huge reservoirs in northern California.

Here is the change in the drought status from Feb. 4 to Feb. 11. The small are improved can be seen in this comparison.

Here is another way to look at the chance during the course of the last week.

There was a little rain in central California but not enough to put even a small dent in the drought. Here are some startling numbers showing how bad the last two and a half months have been. Since Dec. 1, Los Angeles has only had 6 percent of normal rain, Santa Maria 10 percent, San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles 19 percent of normal.

Prospects are not good either for the next couple of weeks. All long-range models show below-, too much below, normal precipitation through the end of the month in central and southern California. From the Operational GFS here is total rainfall from today through next Friday. The European is saying the exact same thing.

It is bad now and it is going to get worse. At least one more week in the middle of the normally wettest time of year with no appreciable rain expected.

The following is my own editorial comments. It has been my opinion since December that mandatory water restrictions be put in place over most all of California. Water that we save at the tap and in watering landscape could be better saved and used to help lessen the pending disaster awaiting farmers and ranchers. Millions of acres may not be planted and ranchers will have to sell off significant portions of their herds because they can't afford to feed them. This is also not just a California problem but a National problem as food and beef prices go up, perhaps way up, as we head through the spring and summer months. California provides a large percent of the nation's food. We, as a nation, cannot do with huge losses in this food supply.

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


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Ken Clark
Ken Clark's Western U.S. weather blog tackles daily weather events with commentary from one of the most experienced and trusted Western U.S. weather experts.