The six-year dry spell in Arizona that ended earlier this year was likely an unprecedented event not seen in the past 675 years. The interesting and spooky factoid comes from studies of tree-ring data that were used to estimate flows from the rivers that provide water to metro Phoenix and other parts of central Arizona. As you might think, the freaky stretch of poor river flow doesn’t bode well for the state’s future.
Archive for date: December 7th, 2017
You are now in California and the U.S. category.
Hot, dry Santa Ana winds will likely whip up the unseasonably fierce wildfires ravaging Southern California on Thursday, forecasters said. The gales have come at the worst time, at the end of a long dry spell. The combination of savage Santa Anas and tinder-dry plants have ignited large wildfires in the region this week, upending lives at a time when many people were preparing for the winter holidays, officials said. It served as a reminder that parts of California increasingly face a year-round threat of flames.
It’s been day and night comparing rainfall between northern and southern California through the first week of December. While Northern California stands at 112 percent of average for this date, the Tulare Basin is only 39 percent of average. The beleaguered city of Ventura stands at just 1.5 percent of average rain for this date says the National Weather Service. High pressure across the state this month is blocking any storm system in the Pacific from coming in at least until Dec 22.
Santa Barbara is now entering the seventh year of drought conditions, a circumstance City of Santa Barbara Public Works czar Rebecca Bjork called “unprecedented.” Bjork’s remarks — it’s been seven years since Lake Cachuma has spilled — came as she gave the City Council its monthly update on drought and water supply issues. The good news is that city residents are using less water now than they have anytime since 1985. They used 35 percent less in the month of October than they consume during a so-called “normal” month. Annualized, the numbers are even more dramatic: 40 percent less.
The year-end fires sweeping Southern California this week have raised a worrisome question: Where is the rain?The rainy season typically starts in October and lasts through April, with the heaviest rain coming from December through March. Precipitation has been at or above-normal in Northern California, but there has been little rain in the south.Since Oct. 1 just 2.3 inches have fallen in Los Angeles, or 5 percent of average. In San Diego, it’s 1.5 inches, or 1 percent of average, according to the California Department of Water Resources.
California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León announced Thursday that the chamber is set to pick San Diego Sen. Toni Atkins as his successor, making her the first woman and first openly gay legislator to hold the leadership position, a move that is bringing praise from Democrats and Republicans alike. De León, D-Los Angeles, said in a statement that Atkins, D-San Diego, “will make history and be our Senate’s next president pro tempore. I have every confidence she will lead America’s most accomplished legislative chamber to even greater heights and build on our extraordinary progress.”
The San Diego County Water Authority announced Thursday it has extended through 2047 a historic agreement to secure independent water supplies from the Colorado River. The water authority’s board voted unanimously to extend the agreement with the Metropolitan Water District to transport 2 million acre-feet of Colorado River water between 2037 and 2047. Water transferred under the agreement represented 20 percent of San Diego’s needs in 2017. The complex agreement covers water originally intended for Imperial Valley farms and requires the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District to transport that water to San Diego via the Colorado River Aqueduct.
Southern Californians who reside near the mountains, hillsides or canyons live with the risk of a wildfire burning down their homes. But rarely do they think about a fire contaminating their drinking water. Perhaps they should. Just ask residents of Ventura, Santa Paula and Ojai, who must boil their tap water before drinking it, cooking with it or brushing their teeth, the result of the powerful Thomas fire that knocked out portions of their water system Tuesday and grew to 96,000 acres by Thursday.