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Water Worries Due to Long Dry Spell?

January 14, 2013; 1:51 PM ET

Last Friday, my blog showed how a strong ridge with a high height anomaly in the high latitudes was going to bring an exceptionally long period of dry weather to the West Coast. Last Friday, it looked like this dry weather would last at least through this coming weekend. Now it seems like we may be able to squeeze an extra day or two out of that in the Northwest and many more days in the Southwest.

This is very unusual for this time of year. There are times when long, precipitation-free periods occur in the winter in places like Arizona and Southern California, but this long of period in the Northwest does not occur very often during one of the stormiest times of winter.

I have been asked if this is going to have a negative impact on the water supply for the upcoming summer. Any long, dry spell is never good but this alone may not have a big influence. That is unless it continues the rest of the winter.

First, the current snowpack in the Sierra has about 15 percent more water in it than is normal for the date. This is thanks to the stormy later part of December. However, by early next week this could be to, or even below, normal and dropping. There is even more water available in the snowpack in the Northwest.

Second, this dry spell is occurring rather early in the winter season. We still have at least three more months to pick up more rain and snow. This is not like the dry spell is occurring near the end of the year when the chances of additional precipitation is becoming lower.

It may be very hard for places across southern California to southern Arizona to get to normal since Los Angeles right now is only a little over 60 percent of normal since Oct. 1 and Phoenix is 37 percent. The pattern is really going to have to get stormy to get these numbers to near normal and being in the ENSO pattern we are in this does not look favorable. At least for Southern California, a lot of the water comes from the Sierra not locally for farming and drinking.

One thing is for sure. If you are a storm lover, you are going to be extremely bored for the next week. There is nothing you can do but sit back and ride this out.

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

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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.