On Capital Public Radio's Insight, Rudolph pointed out that the lack of rain can dry out soils. That could increase dust levels, and dust carries pollen.
"[This] increases allergy and asthma. And dust can also carry pathogens. Over the last decade we've seen an increase in Valley Fever, a fungal disease in the Central Valley. That can be increased when dust levels increase and the spores of this disease are carried in the dust."
~Dr. Linda Rudolph, Center for Climate Change and Health
Rudolph says the drought could also trigger other health problems such as an increase in diabetes in some poor, rural communities. She says when drinking water becomes scarce, people turn to other fluids.
"And when those other alternatives are things like soda, it just exacerbates health problems such as obesity," she says.
Rudolph says droughts can also reduce agricultural crop yields leading to significant food price increases.
"And we see the same thing when people have to pay more for food. Low income people often turn to calorie dense food that is associated with more calories, obesity and diabetes," she says.
California is experiencing one of its wettest winters in years. But farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley still won’t receive a full supply of water from the federal Central Valley Project.
Some farmers who rely on water from the federal Central Valley Project may receive more water than they’ve had in several years. Others will have to wait until mid-March to find out what their allocations will be.
The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors has voted to continue its drought emergency while other counties are looking at lifting conservation measures.
A UC Santa Cruz study finds transmission of West Nile virus is higher in drought years.
Today's Sierra snowpack survey has scientists with the California Department of Water Resources optimistic about the state's water supply.