California has driest January and February on record, Sierra snowpack below normal – ‘It’s going to have some dire effects for those folks in the Central Valley that were thinking they will be able to plant’Posted by Jim at Thursday, March 14, 2013
By Amy Quinton
28 February 2013
(California Capital Network) – California has officially shattered an all-time record for the driest January and February in the northern Sierra since record-keeping began in 1921. This year, the area has received only 2.3 inches of precipitation.
The northern Sierra is crucial in providing statewide water supplies because snow melt fills reservoirs. But Thursday's snowpack readings show water content at only 66 percent of normal for the date.
That has farmers in the Central Valley worried. Paul Wenger is President of the California Farm Bureau.
"It's going to have some dire effects for those folks in the Central Valley that were thinking that they were going to be able to plant, especially some of the annual crops that now won't be planted because they're going to try to save that water for the perennial crops, the trees and the vines and the other things that are already in the ground," said Wenger.
Wenger said there is always the possibility of a wet March, but it's unlikely to be enough to fill the reservoirs and provide what's needed for farmers.
But most key storage reservoirs are full - this means there won't be any issues with drinking water for now.
By Chris Macias, firstname.lastname@example.org
13 March 2013
The dreaded "D" word has the California wine industry on edge. We're talking about "drought," given that January and February were deemed the driest on record in the northern Sierra Nevada, the heart of water supplies for California farmers.
While rain and snow totals are well ahead of last season's overall numbers, the past two months have hit hard. These challenging conditions are thus far a turn from the stellar 2012 growing season, which resulted in a state-record crop boasting 3.89 million tons of crushed wine grapes. Farmers and wine industry observers are staying hopeful for a good soaking this spring.
"Many of our significant rain events came in March and April (last year), and we still have real potential for that," said Camron King, executive director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission. "From what I'm hearing, people are cautiously optimistic that we'll be getting more rain soon. Since we had such a good water year last year, I don't think the concerns are as large." […]
"It's not the first time people have had to deal with this," said King. "But the reality is we may need to be addressing our water usage throughout the course of the year." [more]