See how Jerry Brown measured California’s bleak snowpack in 2015
David Siders – The Sacramento Bee
It has not been abnormally warm in the Sierra. At the South Lake Tahoe airport, the average high temperature in May was 61 degrees. So far in June, it has been 72 degrees. In both months, temperatures were essentially even with the historical average, federal data show.
At the Yosemite National Park ranger station, the average high temperature was 72 in May and 81 so far in June, also on par with historical averages.
But the mountains did not get much snow after the start of April. The Central Sierra received the equivalent of about 5 inches of precipitation between April 1 and Monday, a couple of inches below average, state data show.
Other signs don’t bode well for the state’s drought situation. Forecasters announced earlier this month that California faces a 75 percent chance of a potentially dry La Niña weather pattern during the fall and winter.
California continues to be abnormally dry, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center. Almost 43 percent of the state is either in extreme or exceptional drought. One year ago, about 71 percent of the state was in extreme or exceptional drought.
Kelly Redmond, regional climatologist with the Western Regional Climate Center at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, said the recent conditions might be considered the new normal amid climate change.
“As a harbinger of what we might be seeing in the future,” he said, “this year as well as last year are not bad examples to be looking at.”
Still, Hunt, the Bureau of Reclamation spokesman, said that the state is in far better shape this year than it was last year, and there’s hope that the water in the Sacramento Valley reservoirs could last into 2017.
Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville, the state’s two largest reservoirs, remain above average levels for this time of year, state figures show. Folsom Lake and Don Pedro Reservoir are near average levels. All told, eight of the state’s 12 major reservoirs are above 75 percent of average for this time of year.
“We’re hoping we can work through everything and keep some water in Folsom,” Hunt said. “I’m optimistic right now.”
This article was previously published by The Sacramento Bee : http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article84891802.html