‘Rains won’t be enough’ to overturn Calif. drought

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Drought MonitorThe Drought Monitor map of California released Feb. 27, 2014. Rain finally has returned to some parts of California, but will it be enough to stop the drought?

According to NBC News in an article here, California residents are bracing for several inches of rain – and a few feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains – thanks to a pair of back-to-back storm systems. However, neither are expected to provide enough precipitation to overturn the oppressive drought conditions.

“It’s not going to be enough, but it’s better than not having it at all,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in CBS San Francisco report.

The latest “Drought Monitor” report shows California cloaked in deep hues of red, indicated the spread of the most intense levels of drought. As of Feb. 25, nearly three-quarters of the state is in extreme or worse drought, up from 68 percent last week.

And according to the report’s author, Brad Rippey, the outlook doesn’t bode well for long-term relief.

“This year, California is on track to complete one of its driest years on record; the period from July 1, 2013 – January 31, 2014, broke an all-time record for dryness. Heat has certainly not helped California’s drought situation,” he wrote. “California’s drought impacts continue to mount, with one of the most recent blows to agriculture being that the Central Valley Project plans to deliver no water to many growers in 2014.”

Read the full “Drought Monitor” report here.

click image to zoomCalifornia DroughtA closer look at California's drought. The end of water allocation to most drought-stricken farms have dealt a significant blow to farmers and rancher in many parts of the Central Valley.

"The state has failed to insulate itself from the effects of drought," California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said. "As the saying goes, you reap what you sow, and our state and federal governments have failed miserably at providing the resources and infrastructure needed to adapt to changing climatic conditions."

Wenger called the cutbacks “just the tip of the iceberg of devastation” that faces farmers, ranchers and consumers.

"The extensive investments farmers and urban residents have made to increase water efficiency have not shielded us from this disaster—despite 20-plus years of assurances from environmental activists that all we needed to do was conserve," Wenger said.

See, “Farmers respond in wake of ‘zero’ water allocation.”

Early indications point to the return of El Niño later year, which could bring much-needed rain to the Golden State. However, whether or not El Niño will develop or fizzled has yet to be realized. Until then, California – and other states across the West and Southwest – can expect to stay deep in a persistent drought through at the least the beginning of June.

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