California Drought Unlikely to End This Winter

Don’t hold your breath for California’s drought ending with this winter’s rains. Instead, you’d do well to hold your shower time to a minimum.

There’s less than a 40% chance of water supplies getting back to normal after this winter, with a slightly better than 50% chance that the state’s drought will worsen, according to forecasters at a Monday, Nov. 22, drought webinar hosted by the National Integrated Drought Information Center. The center is led by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

What’s Causing California’s Drought?

California’s new drought is worsening. After two severely dry winters, reservoirs are shrinking, fire danger is rising and water supplies are looking more tenuous.

The past two years have been the driest in nearly half a century, since 1976-77. How did the state find itself in a new crisis just as the COVID pandemic is fading? Scientists say California’s parched plight largely comes down to two words: “atmospheric river.”

California is Dry With no Rain in Sight. Should We Start Worrying About Drought and Wildfire?

California’s alarmingly dry winter continues, with no meaningful snow or rain in sight. Although it’s far too soon to predict a drought, experts said wildfire risks could worsen this summer as a result of the shortage of precipitation.

And while the rainy season still has more than two months left, a persistent high-pressure ridge over the Pacific is keeping wet weather at bay, just as it did during the five-year drought, said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA. Swain said it’s possible parts of Northern California “could go completely dry in the month of February.”