January 30, 2014 in Washington Voices

Weather: Region needs moisture, as does California

 

Some much-needed moisture was expected in our region this week, as well as in drought-ravaged California.

In 2013, the Spokane International Airport had 11.36 inches of rain and melted snow, compared to a normal of 16.56 inches. As of Tuesday, we only had about 0.60 inch of precipitation at the airport, an inch below normal.

In California, conditions are so dry that Gov. Jerry Brown has declared virtually the entire state a drought disaster area.

California is now in its third consecutive dry year, exceeding the parching drought of the mid-1970s. Precipitation this winter season of 2013-14 is down 80 percent across the state. Many streams and wells have completely dried up. Some towns have almost no available supplies of drinking water.

But, there’re still chances of valley rains and mountains snows reaching parched California by the end of this week and lasting into at least early to mid-February. It’s possible that the dry weather pattern will return to that area later next month. And, what moisture does fall will likely stay north of Southern California and the Southwest, continuing to leave much of that area mostly dry and warm.

About 80 percent of the water consumed in California is used for irrigation. The 2013-14 rainfall season, which runs from July 1 to June 30, could be driest in 434 years based on tree-ring data.

As far as our local weather is concerned, February and March, and perhaps even early April, may turn wetter than normal with above normal amounts of snow, especially during February and early to mid-March. February should be our snowiest month of the winter season, but totals may not be that impressive.

Contact Randy Mann at www.facebook.com/wxmann, or go to www.longrangeweather.com for additional information.

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