Drizzling on the Drought

January 28, 2014

1893434Misty-drizzly rain this afternoon on California’s north coast, though, actually it’s really just heavy moisture in the air — we’re forecast for maybe some real rain tonight and tomorrow, but it won’t much help shrinking water reservoirs.

Since this particular ‘moisture plume‘ is coming out of the central Pacific, temperatures are up, and earlier today it actually felt warm. In drought jargon, however, this system ain’t worth doodley-squat: “The amount of rain you would need to get yourself back to normal conditions is an unreasonable amount,” said Mark Strudley, a hydrologist for the weather service.
We need rain in the near-monsoon-like genre.

And this little dribble storm will be all gone by Friday, leaving behind just a dismal damp.

(Illustration found here).

Up here in Humboldt County, we’re in incredible shape as compared to the rest of California. A good round-up of the local situation can be found at Lost Coast Outpost, including this which sets the current tone for our area: The Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) has examined the current situation and has determined that our water supply is currently at acceptable levels. Obviously, that may change if we don’t receive substantial amounts of precipitation during the much-anticipated spring rains. The sheriff tells me we are closely monitoring the situation and if we don’t see the rains in the next few weeks more steps will probably be taken.

So far, so good.
Time will allow the dry reach us, though. As the environment warms, we’re now just on the outer edge of some approaching real-bad shit.
Just a speculation — from TechTimes this afternoon:

California is experiencing one of the longest droughts since the state began recording rainfall 163 years ago, but scientists say the west coast has seen worse and also anticipate that worse is yet to come.
By studying tree rings, sediment and other natural evidence, climate scientists were able to identify a string of serious droughts in the last 1,000 years that lasted 10 to 200 consecutive years.
The worst megadrought in California history began in 850 A.D. and lasted 240 years.
Just fifty years later, in 1140 A.D., another megadrought began and lasted at least 180 years.
The longest droughts in California during the 20th century occurred from 1987 to 1992 and from 1928 to 1934.

The semi-arid state is home to two massive and distinguished economies: Silicon Valley and Hollywood.
More significantly, it is also home to a wide expanse of farmlands, whose system of dams, canals, and reservoirs are hard-pressed to keep up the supply of water during a dry spell.
If the drought would last another ten years, these farmlands would suffer the most.
According to California’s Department of Water Resources, farmers use a yearly average of 80 percent of the water consumed by people and businesses.
These are sourced from rivers, lakes, and groundwater covering 34 million acre-feet.
In the event of a mega-drought, farmers’ water allotments would shrink to nothing.
Large reservoirs would gradually dry up after five years of very little rain.
The Shasta, Oroville and San Luis reservoirs won’t be of any use at that point.

Not a pretty sight. Tonight, wonder if President Obama says anything about climate change in the State of the Union.
A dry wind blows…

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