Lawmakers are considering spending $150 million to fund new high-tech measurements of the snowpack using lasers. A pilot program with NASA has been in place for several years and results show lasers record snowpack measurements with near perfect accuracy. Up until now, California has measured the snowpack manually, with experts physically sinking a metal pole into the snow at various monitoring locations. Snow survey expert Frank Gehrke has been doing the manual measurements for thirty years and says the manual approach has resulted in measurements that are up to 60 percent incorrect.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued an emergency proclamation to help communities respond to the severe winter storms that began in January and have continued through this month. The proclamation was issued for many counties across California, including Calaveras, El Dorado, and Yolo County. This helps those communities recover from potential flooding, mudslides, erosion, power outages, and damage to infrastructure.
When you hear about a category five hurricane, you know it can be deadly. Now meteorologists have created a new scale to track the strong winter storms that slam the west coast. The new system could help give more people warning and ranks some of our past storms. Northern California is no stranger to strong storms that cause flooding, levee breaks, and mudslides. In the past, they’ve been known as a pineapple express, and more recently they’ve been dubbed atmospheric rivers. Now scientists have developed a new scientific scale to track them.
California water managers will conduct the season’s first manual surveys of the state’s crucial winter snowfall. Winter snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains supplies drinking water for much of California as it melts throughout the spring and summer. The amount of snow is measured monthly through the winter at more than 260 locations to help water managers plan for how much they can deliver to customers later in the year.
California began a new water year Monday with some rain falling or in the immediate forecast after 12 months of below-average precipitation. The Department of Water Resources said the Oct.1-Sept. 30 water year that ended Sunday was marked by hot and dry conditions, except for sporadic significant precipitation. During the period, the statewide snowpack was just 58 percent of average by April 1, a dramatic reversal from the previous water year in which the pack reached 159 percent of average.
Concrete placement on the Oroville Dam spillway is likely to meet the Nov. 1 public safety construction deadline despite some setbacks, the California Department of Water Resources said on Wednesday. One of the slabs in the middle chute of the spillway needed to be replaced earlier this month due to hot weather and high winds affecting its surface. That slab is one of 221 that have been placed on the spillway through the work process and DWR doesn’t expect that to affect the schedule.
Olive harvest season is getting started in California and farmers are concerned this could be one of the worst in recent memory. California leads the nation in olive oil production, but now there may be a shortage. It’s a significant setback for a growing industry just two years removed from its largest crop.
The cloud cover across parts of Northern California is a reminder the seasons are changing and experts say it’s time to get prepared for the rainy season. “I am not ready for the winter,” a viewer tells CBS13. “I think it would be awesome to get all that rain over here,” said another. According to the National Weather Service, El Nino is expected to jet through Southern California, which means there’s a chance extra rain will travel to the northern regions.
Despite firefighters saying there is no need for more water to fight California’s wildfires, the Commerce Department is paving the way for more water pumping. The move comes after President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday and Monday that California’s water rules were leaving firefighters without enough water, a statement Cal Fire officials say isn’t true. The president appears to have confused firefighting efforts in California with the state’s water rights system and how water allotments are meted out to farmers and water agencies throughout California. Firefighters are able to draw water from nearby reservoirs and ponds if necessary.
California’s largest water agency has re-approved a nearly $11 billion plan to fund two enormous tunnels that would be the centerpiece of Gov. Jerry Brown’s ambitious project to remake the state water system. The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Tuesday repeated a vote it cast in April because of concerns about the legality of the earlier decision. The environmental group Food and Water Watch and the watchdog First Amendment Coalition questioned whether the MWD violated the state’s open-meeting law through behind-the-scenes campaigning among board members. MWD officials denied wrongdoing but agreed to recast the vote.