The U.S. Drought Monitor says a lack of rain in May and in early June has caused the expansion of abnormally dry conditions in northwest California.
Remember that white area on the California state graphic showing "no drought" along the northwest coast and slightly east on the border with Oregon? It’s gone now.
"For the first 11 days of June, precipitation values across northwest California are 5 – 20 percent of average," the report notes. "D0 [Abnormally Dry] was expanded to cover all of northwest California to reflect these conditions."
There were no changes to drought conditions in central and southern California in the past week as moderate drought covers 83 percent of the state, with 59 percent in severe and 42 percent in extreme drought. This year marks the 5th consecutive year of drought in California.
In the Reno area, "impressive rainfall totals from the previous weekend allowed for further contraction of D3 [extreme drought] along the crest of the White Mountains."
In the past week, "precipitation deficits approached one-half inch or less than 5 percent of normal," in California and other parts of the western U.S. But "above normal precipitation fell in central and southern Nevada and into north and south central Arizona."
"Temperatures in the region were generally 3-6 degrees F above normal except for a few small areas along the California coast that were around 3 degrees F below normal," according to the weekly update. "In northern California the canals are full, and water is in good supply at the moment. However, with the rapid snow melt this year, water supply may be a concern later this summer."
The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released June 16 shows drought persisting through September 30 in California and western Nevada, with development of drought conditions likely in Oregon and Washington. No surprise, since summer is typically dry in the region.
But the Drought Center says conditions in California are ripe for wildfires, with an "above-average fire season expected."
Cal Fire says it has already responded to more than 1,562 wildfires in 2016, covering more than 28,000 acres. The agency says that is more than twice the amount of acres during the same period in 2015.