Saturday, May 3, 2014

100% of California in drought

I've been neglecting to follow up on the California drought since I last mentioned it in Weather and the economy for February 2014.  That's despite the promise I made in Lady Gaga does a water conservation PSA and other drought news.  To remedy my neglect, here's the lead story from Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (100% of California in drought) on Daily Kos.

L.A. Times: Drought covers 100% of California for first time in 15 years
By Jason Wells
April 25, 2014, 6:53 a.m.
A prolonged period of below-average rainfall has put the entire state of California under some level of drought, ranging in severity from moderate to exceptional, for the first time in 15 years.

The latest drought monitor released by the National Climatic Data Center this week shows that the entire state is under moderate drought conditions, but within that map, 76.6% of the state is experiencing extreme drought conditions, and for 24.7% of the state, the level of dryness is "exceptional."

During the same period last year, none of the state was considered to be under extreme or exceptional drought conditions, and just 30% fell under the "severe" category, according to the assessment released Thursday.
The drought is so bad that the first major fire of the season has already been mostly contained, as Jonathan Lloyd and Christina Cocca of NBC Los Angeles reported yesterday in Firefighters Make Good Progress on Fire in San Bernardino National Forest.
All evacuations were lifted and schools had reopened as firefighters got a handle on the blaze

Firefighters made good progress Friday on the 2,190-acre brush fire in a San Bernardino County community.

The blaze, dubbed the Etiwanda Fire, was 67 percent contained as of Friday night. All evacuations had been lifted one night earlier.

The fire broke out at 8 a.m. at the base of the San Bernardino National Forest 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. The fire grew to 200 acres by noon, quadrupled in size within a few hours and had burned through 1,000 acres of brush by that afternoon.
That's 8 A.M. Wednesday, as The Weather Channel notes in Southern California Wildfire Only Smoldering.
Winds in the area below the San Bernardino National Forest were around 15 mph Thursday night, with 25-mph gusts — a far cry from the 70-mph gusts a day earlier.

The Etiwanda fire had started in the San Bernardino Mountains near Rancho Cucamonga Wednesday morning, and Santa Ana winds fed the fire and pushed smoke into nearby neighborhoods.

About 1,600 homes were evacuated Wednesday, but families were allowed to return home for the night. Officials did urge people in some northern neighborhoods of Rancho Cucamonga to leave voluntarily if they felt threatened, said Chon Bribiescas, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.
Fire season in southern California is now starting in April.  Last year, it started in May.  Welcome to the 400 ppm world.

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