Driest February on Record for Much of California
For much of the state, this is the driest February on record. Some places of California were rain-free during this month–one of the traditionally wettest of the year. For instance, downtown San Francisco has had no precipitation at all during this period. This hasn’t happened since 1864. Ukiah was also bone dry this month.
Some of the potential impacts of this dry weather include
- Soil is dry; irrigation delivery begins early
- Dryland crop germination is stunted
- Winter resort visitation is low; snowpack is minimal
But, as had been seen already, one of the impacts of the dry weather is that fire season is beginning. Several larger fires have already been reported in the area. The Baseball Fire located in the moderate drought area in the northeastern part of Mendocino County and northwestern part of Glenn County had reached 68 acres yesterday. And, the Bear Fire, which was near Dinsmore in Humboldt County in mid February, was the largest fire in over a year in that county.
A high-pressure system has kept storms from pouring rain on California. In 2011 through 2015, a similar system sent California spinning into a drought conditions.
Compounding the problem, yesterday officials measuring the snowpack said it was about half of normal for this time of year.
Luckily, last year’s snowpack was one of the top five in recorded history so that provides a bit of leeway this year. And, the reservoirs are over 100% because of last year’s heavy snows and last fall’s rainfall which was within normal limits.
The next real possibility of precipitation for the Emerald Counties comes at the end of next week. But at this point even that is not predicted to be much or sustained for long.