Sunday, January 19, 2014

Drought emergency declared in California

The top story in last night's Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (California Drought Emergency) was Governor Brown's declaration of a drought emergency, something I had been anticipating for a month and just mentioned here last week in Drought news from KPBS in California and Drought and polar vortex from KPBS.  Brown said he'd issue one, and he did, as KPBS reported in California Governor Declares Drought State Of Emergency by Tarryn Mento and Associated Press on January 17, 2014.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency Friday morning amid one of California's driest winters on record.

"We are in a unprecedented, very serious situation, and people should pause and reflect on how dependent we are on the rain, on nature and one another," he told a room full of reporters in San Francisco.

Brown called for a collaborative effort to restrain water use, urging Californians to conserve in every way possible.

"I'm also setting in motion easier water transfers so a farmer who really needs water — who's willing to pay for it — can get it from another farmer who doesn't necessarily need it," he said.
That same day, CNN had three reports on the drought and resulting fires.  I'll begin with the one covering the drought emergency, Wildfire threat looms in severe drought.

California's governor declares a state emergency due to a 100-year drought. CNN's Kyung Lah reports.
Follow over the jump for the other two videos and an article describing the federal government's response, which is to declare a disaster area.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers, who used to work at WXYZ in Detroit, gives the precipitation totals for the year just ended in California in worst drought in a century.

The state of California is experiencing its worst drought in 100 years.
La Nada--how perversely appropriate.

The final video from Friday gives more details about the Colby Fire: Three arrested in California fire.

Three men were arrested as suspects in the fire that near Los Angeles that has burned over 1,700 acres.
As I wrote in Live fires and dead dolphins: hot environmental news from Reuters:
Early August is still too early for brushfires like this.  When I moved from southern California* to Michigan, they didn't erupt in force until the end of August.  Now, there are major fires as early as May!  Of course, I blame climate change.
There were never fires in January, either.  In fact, that was one month when the hills are normally too moist and green and the weather too cold and rainy for fires.  I definitely blame this on climate change.

Finally, here is the news from KPBS about the federal response: Feds Name California Counties Primary Natural Disaster Areas Due To Drought by Tarryn Mento on Thursday, January 16, 2014.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture named Los Angeles and San Bernardino among 27 California counties designated primary natural disaster areas due to recent drought. San Diego was not among those listed.

The designations come on the same day authorities ordered evacuations amid a 1,700-acre wildfire raging in northeast Los Angeles. San Diego County and a large part of Southern California are under a red flag warning for the fourth consecutive day.

"Our hearts go out to those California farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.
Speaking of red flag warnings and unseasonable risk of fire, KPBS has a video about both, along with maps of the affected areas in REDFLAG WARNING.


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