Western US weather expert

More on the Drought; The Numbers Are Frightening

1/07/2014, 6:14:57 AM

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The biggest news in the West continues to be the ongoing dry weather pattern across much of California that could have severe impacts on the economy. There will be a succession of storms in the Northwest this week; none of these will be very strong at all and will not bring anything unusual. In fact, given the time of year, the amount of rain (and higher elevation snow) that will fall will be on the lighter side of normal.

All these storms this week, and it looks like much of next week, will be mostly missing California. It may not be totally dry from near the North Bay and northern Sacramento Valley, but if it does rain, it will only be a very little bit over the next few days.

Here is a look of total precipitation from Monday morning through the afternoon hours of Jan. 19. Please note that the lightest green color does not mean it will rain in this area as this very easily could be just some random printout that will not really exist. Any way over this long period of time this lightest green area is less than 0.10 of an inch.

Much of central and Southern California will have no rain in the above map. That means the first 19 days of the month will have no rain. This is on top of the last 15 or more days of December being rain free. While this map is from the GFS the European model agrees.

Along with the rain drought there is a tremendous snow drought. From the Department of Water Resources, here is the percentage of normal water that is in the meager snowpack in the Sierra by area.

These numbers are shockingly low. Remember, the water in the snow when it melts goes into the reservoirs to be saved for the summer dry season to help water crops and feed a thirsty California. Right now there is not very much water in the snowpack and reservoirs are very, very low right now too.

All this is adding up to the potential for major water problems throughout the state of California unless there is a big turnaround. Unfortunately I do not think that is going to happen.

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

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Western US weather expert