While the Northeast is blanketed by another winter storm, California has its own, quite inverse, climatic problems in the form of a historic drought which as Bloomberg reports, is forcing farmers in the fertile central valley region to fallow thousands of acres of fields and has left 17 rural towns so low on drinking water that the state may need to start trucking in supplies. It is so bad that water reservoirs are at about 60 percent of average, according to state water data, and falling as rainfall remains at record low levels.
Unfortunately for our California readers, it is going to get worse before it gets better because mountain snowpack is about 12 percent of normal for this time of year. The following picture of California from January and a year ago shows just this dramatic difference, which confirms that there is little hope for the parched state.
Here is the WaPo’s Reid Wilson explaining the above visual comparison:
The three-year long drought plaguing the western United States is only likely to get worse over the next year, forecasters and climate scientists say, given a dismal snowpack that has officials in many states worried. Despite a snowstorm earlier this week, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains stands at just 12 percent of the average level, the lowest measurement in the half-century records have been kept.
The low snowpack has serious consequences for the summer. Less snow means less summer runoff. Already, California has banned fishing in some drought-prone rivers. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has asked residents to turn off the water while brushing their teeth. Earlier this week, President Obama called Brown to discuss the drought.
Earlier this month, Brown declared a state of emergency, urging residents to conserve water as much as possible. Several state agencies have said they plan to ration water throughout the summer. And already this year, several wildfires have broken out in areas of the state like Humboldt County, which is typically wet enough in the winter to mute any fire activity.
This of course is great news for America’s already reeling economy, not to mention its stock markets and earnings growth-less corporations: it means one more excuse can be added to the arsenal of scapegoating, because while the latest snowstorm will come and go, even if it should provide “economists” and “analysts” with another reason to ignore “weaker than expected” February data, the aftereffects of Calfornia’s drought will linger. And as everyone knows, Californians don’t buy houses, cars, iPads, burgers, clothing, and generically, stuff, when there is a drought raging.
So bring on the bad data, and let it all be explained away by California’s lack of snow, not to be confused with the overabundance of snow everywhere else.