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Extremely dry start for 2014 after record dry 2013 for Interior Northern California

Drought Information Statement by the National Weather Service Sacramento CA


By: National Weather Service Sacramento CA

January 16, 2014 - The US Drought Monitor is now indicating an extreme drought (classification d3) for all of Interior Northern California. This is due in large part to the precipitation deficit, decreasing reservoir levels and increasing local impacts.

The National Weather Service does not declare drought. In the state of California it is declared by the Governor. The Governor has been working with a drought task force which is coordinated with the California State Department of Water Resources and the State Climatologist.

Summary Of Impacts

Agricultural impacts so far from the dry conditions include no range lands grasses and no germination of winter wheat and oat crop. Local ranchers are having to provide 100% of the feed to their herds as there is no grass for feed. Ranchers are also having to truck in water to cattle as local water holes have dried up. There are numerous reports of cattle being sold because it is too expensive to keep them fed and watered.

Numerous water restrictions are being implemented by local authorities:

Folsom - Stage 3 Restrictions(No landscape water and 20% cut residential use)

Granite Bay and parts of Folsom - Stage 5 Restrictions (Mandatory 50% cut in residential use...no outdoor watering...no water for construction...and no new connections) and

The City of Sacramento - Stage 2 Restrictions (Mandatory 20% cut to residential use...landscape watering reduce to once per week). If this winter continues to be dry even more significant impacts will occur through the year.

As of August 22Nd, all the counties within Northern Interior California have been designated to be primary natural disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to damages and losses caused by the dry conditions. Government programs include assistance payments and emergency loans for farmers and ranchers.

Climate Summary

Little precipitation fell over Interior Northern California in 2013. 2013 was the driest calendar year in 119 years of record for the Sierra with only 9.28 inches, which is about 30 percent of normal. This may be the driest year by a large margin with the next driest calendar year of 16.17 inches in 1976. 2013 is also the third dry year in a row for Northern California. The January 3rd 2014 statewide snowpack measurements recorded a measly 7% of the April 1st average.

Precipitation/Temperature Outlook

The outlook for the rest of the winter into spring is for continued below normal precipitation. Confidence is increasing in that below normal forecast as the winter progresses.

Hydrologic Summary And Outlook

Reservoir levels for the Sacramento River Basin are at 70 percent of average to date and the San Joaquin Basin is at 72 percent of average to date. These numbers include the water available in smaller reservoirs in the upper Sierra which are doing better than the lower elevation/larger reservoirs. No spring snowmelt flooding is expected.



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