Talk about a one-two punch. Between the lack of rain and the sub-freezing temperatures, “there’s no doubt about it – the two together give it a harder case,” says James McFarlane, who grows 700 acres of citrus in Fresno County.
And McFarlane says he’s one of the lucky ones: “Even though we’ve spent all that money on propane and labor, to get those wind machines on and off, even though for about a 40 day period I only spent two full nights in my warm bed, we’re probably gonna make more money because of it.”
That’s because his supply weathered the weather fairly well. Others did not. California’s citrus industry estimates the cost of the seven-day December freeze at about $440 million. That’ll lead to a shorter California citrus season in stores, and perhaps higher prices for customers.
An estimated 60,000 people will take part in California's biggest one day volunteer effort on Sept. 20, and anyone can participate.
El Niño is not expected to end the California drought but ‘atmospheric rivers’ might help.
Forecasters say the chances are diminishing that El Niño will bring rain to California.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District's shade tree program has been around for 25 years. In spite of the drought, the utility says it will continue to fund the program for at least another two years because of the benefits trees provide.
Environmental groups say the recent California Legislative session was a big win for coastal protection, clean water among other issues.