Avoiding a long-expected crisis on the Colorado River, a water source for 40 million people, is coming down to a final few days of frenzied negotiations. A 19-year drought and decades of overuse have put a water shortfall on the horizon. If California and six other states, all with deeply entrenched interests, can’t agree on a plan to cut their water consumption by Jan. 31, the federal government says it will step in and decide the river’s future.
Archive for date: January 29th, 2019
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Santa Barbara is still in a drought even with the strong start to the year with rain and more coming this weekend. The updated water supply report to the Santa Barbara City Council detailed the current storage above and below ground and it was a mosaic of resources. Cachuma lake has gone up with runoff from the storm this month but not significantly. Gibraltar dam spilled two weeks ago and will continue to release water if we get more rain the Santa Ynez watershed.
The first of two Pacific storms will make shore late Wednesday night and drop between 0.25 inches and 0.50 inches of rain in greater San Diego during the day and evening, according to the National Weather Service. Daytime high temperatures will low be in the 60s at and near the coast, and the 50s and 40s inland. The second system is larger and colder. Forecasters say that storm will move into the region on Friday night and drop moderate to heavy rain on Saturday, and lighter, more sporadic precipitation on Sunday and possibly Monday.
A Pacific storm swinging into California this weekend may then spread a mess of snow and ice into parts of the Midwest and Northeast, kicking off the first full week of February early next week. After one of the coldest Midwest outbreaks in a generation, the jet stream pattern will undergo a fundamental change. Instead of taking a nosedive out of Canada into the Great Lakes and Northeast, the jet stream will take a southward plunge in the western U.S. by the weekend. This will push a potent storm to the West Coast this weekend that will work its way into the Plains, Midwest and Northeast early next week.
Storms during the first three weeks of January brought seasonal rainfall and snowpack levels to average or more, increased reservoir levels and brought cautious optimism to California farmers, who hope to see improved water supplies in the coming year. After seeing the Sierra Nevada snowpack increase from 70 percent of average on Jan. 1 to 105 percent of average at the start of this week, farmers said they’re encouraged—but noted the winter still has a long way to go.