California experienced one of the driest Januaries on record. Experts say that the “snowpack must grow seven times its current size in the next two months just to be average.”
If wet weather doesn’t come soon, the state’s situation will become even more dire. Water reserves are scarce, and more than 400,000 acres – most of it in the nation’s leading agricultural area, the Central Valley – dried up or were fallowed. Household wells have also come up dry, and communities are rationing water.
“It would really help to have at least one good month — a fantastic February, miracle March, an awesome April,” said Ron Jacobsma, general manager of the Friant Water Authority, representing 15,000 east San Joaquin Valley growers who didn’t get any river water for irrigation last year.
Consulting meteorologist Steve Johnson in Fresno said December encouraged everyone, but each possibility for stormy weather in January seemed to fall apart.
“This just keeps getting worse,” said Johnson, who forecasts for many farm clients.
With wet weather on the horizon later this week, Northern California may at least get some relief. The Fresno Bee reports.