California’s Drought, Relentless and Inexorable, Takes its Toll

With the rainy season come and gone, drought’s withered hand remained firmly fixed on California this month, as it has been, with few exceptions, for the last decade.

Woes pile up. Rain didn’t save us, the snowpack is all but gone, the Coastal Commission says no desalinating sea water, and urban-interface fires have already begun.

It’s almost summer in the Golden State.

Atmospheric River Storm Observations Take Flight Over Pacific Ocean

Research on atmospheric rivers takes flight as UC San Diego’s Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes taps “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft for specialized scientific missions.

The aircraft will fly for a 13-week period (that began January 5) to glean critical data for improving forecasts of atmospheric river storms over the Pacific Ocean. Those storms, or “AR’s,” provide up to half of the U.S. West Coast’s annual precipitation and a majority of the flooding.

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.

The Drought is Going to Stick Around for a Third Year in California, Federal Scientists Project

California is likely to emerge from the winter with little relief from drought, federal climate experts said Thursday, setting the stage for a third year of dry weather and continuing water shortages. The monthly climate report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects that drought conditions will persist in almost all of California through February. With the next three months historically the state’s wettest, the opportunity for drought recovery is essentially lost.

October’s Torrential Rains Brought Some Drought Relief, But California’s Big Picture Still Bleak

When a fierce early-season storm drenched parts of Northern California last month, some experts said it was in the nick of time.

Reservoir levels were critically low. Soils were parched. Fires rampaged through dry forests.

There was general consensus among climate experts that not even the record-breaking downpour would end the two-year drought plaguing the state. There was too much of a deficit, and a single storm — even of biblical proportions — would not be able to solve it in one fell swoop.

Drought Expected to Persist in Much of the Western US Through 2022 and Beyond, According to NOAA Report

The thirst for water in the Western U.S. will likely not be quenched in the near future.

Drought conditions are expected to persist in the West, which is already amid a decades-long megadrought, through 2022 and beyond, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s drought outlook.

Southwest U.S. Drought, Worst in a Century, Linked by NOAA to Climate Change

Human-caused climate change has intensified the withering drought gripping the Southwestern United States, the region’s most severe on record, with precipitation at the lowest 20-month level documented since 1895, a U.S. government report said on Tuesday.

Over the same period, from January 2020 through August 2021, the region also experienced the third-highest daily average temperatures measured since record-keeping began near the end of the 19th century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) drought task force

California Records Its Hottest Summer Ever as Climate Change Roils Cities

California and several other Western states endured the hottest summer on record, according to federal data released Thursday, underscoring the ways rapid climate change is unleashing unprecedented wildfires, deadly heat waves and drought conditions. In addition to California, officials said Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Utah also set all-time heat records for the meteorological summer, spanning June through August.

A Drought Like No Other, NOAA Scientist Says

The West has been so dry and so hot for so long that its current drought has no modern precedent, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologist.

For the first time in 122 years of record-keeping, drought covers almost the entire Western U.S. as measured by the Palmer Drought Severity Index, said Richard Heim, a drought historian and an author of the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“It’s a very simple ‘yes,’ in terms of this drought being unprecedented,” Heim said.

The Western Drought is Worse Than You Think. Here’s Why

It has lasted longer than the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. It’s dropped water levels perilously low at two of the nation’s largest reservoirs, forced ranchers to sell off herds and helped propel scorching wildfires. And worst of all, the drought blanketing the western United States is not going away. A group of experts featuring federal and state officials and farmers and ranchers spent nearly three hours yesterday chronicling the devastation caused by drought conditions that now cover almost every inch of seven Western states. Half of the U.S. population lives in a drought-stricken area.