Persistent dryness ‘worrisome’ for Southern California as drought, water supply shortage issues loom
Unlike the winter of 2016-2017, this season is turning out quite dry for Southern California and the majority of the southwestern United States.
While a seemingly endless string of warm, dry days may make travel and outdoor plans a breeze, this dry spell is threatening to become a prolonged drought.
“There are growing worries for [the] water supply picture, especially in California, but even over more of the Southwest,” warned AccuWeather Meteorologist Jim Andrews.
While dry weather is typical in this part of the country at other times of year, winter is usually when more frequent rain and mountain snow prepare the area for the dry summer ahead.
However, the current pattern favors storms heading into the Pacific Northwest, and therefore leaving the Southwest high and dry. According to Andrews, there is every indication that this dry spell will last beyond two weeks.
“In Southern California, February is the wettest month of the year even though it is the shortest month,” Andrews said.
“So, if the first two weeks are rain-free, you’ve already lost an eighth of the year’s rainfall,” he explained.
A single year with below-average rainfall may be a hiccup, but this pattern is actually part of a larger problem.
“You can trace this multi-year drought back to 2011,” Andrews said.
Despite plenty of rain and snowfall last winter, which ended the state's five-year drought, it wasn’t enough to keep drought conditions from quickly coming back.
Over 54 percent of California is experiencing abnormally dry conditions, while just over 12 percent of the state is under moderate drought conditions, according to the United States Drought Monitor.
“That is very worrisome for the region’s water supply and fire danger,” Andrews warned.
Residents should be prepared to again cope with water restrictions, even as minor as watering plants and lawns at dusk and taking shorter showers.Report a Typo
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