Water Year 2021 Characterized by Persistent Dry Weather and Worsening Drought in California

• Total precipitation has been well below normal throughout much of California during water year (WY) 2021
• In some regions, drier than normal conditions extend back to the start of WY 2020
• Drought has expanded and intensified across the state, and current water storage levels are below normal in many
• Below-normal snowpack in the Sierra Nevada may limit water resource availability as summer approaches
• The abnormally dry conditions were driven by a lack of landfalling atmospheric rivers (ARs) and persistent
ridging/blocking over the Northeast Pacific Ocean
• Drought is expected to continue through spring 2021, thereby increasing the threat of significant wildfire activity in
summer 2021