The California #drought is back

 

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In the Sierra Nevada, snowpack levels are running below even the darkest days of the drought, with cross-country ski resorts closed and mountain biking becoming the sport of choice until the snow returns according to the Los Angeles Times.

In the Bay Area, cities like San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Rosa are experiencing the hottest starts to a year on record.

And Southern California remains in the grip of unprecedented dry and hot conditions, despite a weak storm that moved in Monday.

February is historically a wet month, but not this year. And the long-term forecast offers little hope for relief.

Southern California is desperate for rain, but this week’s precipitation is expected to be so paltry experts are loathe to even call it an actual storm.

The odds are that California will have below-average precipitation through the rest of February, according to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center. And the main culprit, an intensely persistent mass of high pressure, refuses to budge in any significant way.

UC Berkeley researcher Randall Osterhuber at the snow lab in Soda Springs has been measuring the frozen water bank on which California’s summer supplies so keenly depend on: just 13 inches Monday morning. Last year at this time, there were 128 inches, or nearly 11 feet of snow.

In the deserts of Southern California, chances of a brilliant springtime wildflower bloom are fading fast. Only a few poppies have sprouted at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, and the hills are mostly brown.

 

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