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California Drought: Recent Above-Average Rain No Help

Woranuch Joyce / Capital Public Radio

Dry landscape in central California in the fourth year of drought.

Woranuch Joyce / Capital Public Radio

The U.S. Drought Monitor released July 23 reflects improvements in drought conditions for the Southwest U.S. But the recent above-average rain in California has "had little impact on the overall drought situation in the state."

"During the weekend, residual moisture associated with Hurricane Dolores fueled showers and thunderstorms across southwestern California and western Arizona leading to locally heavy rainfall accumulations and flash flooding," stated the report. "Despite well-above-average precipitation in southern California during the past 90 days, recent rainfall has had little impact on the overall drought situation in the state."

0723 Drought West


The report says the three months of well above-average precipitation "in parts of central and southern California, the Sierras, and portions of the Great Basin, have not made a positive change in the overall drought situation because significant precipitation deficits remain as well as agricultural and hydrological (low reservoirs, below normal streamflows) impacts."

And the recent report from the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) showed much of the west had its warmest June on record.

"The contiguous U.S. average temperature for June was the second hottest in the observational record (1895–2015)," according to the report. "On a state level, California, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Washington all experienced their hottest average-temperature Junes on record since 1895."

Conditions continued to deteriorate in the Pacific Northwest, where "above average temperatures and precipitation deficits continue to mount across the region with growing concern about potential crop losses in central and eastern Washington."

"In the Pacific Northwest, precipitation has been below normal since the beginning of the Water-Year (Oct. 1). The trend has continued during the past 60-days leading to very low streamflows, dry soils, and increasing concern in the agricultural sector."

The seasonal drought forecast shows the drought persisting and intensifying in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

0722 Seasonal Drought

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