ICYMI 2/20/22: Worst Drought in 1,200 Years?

Dry start to 2022 intensifies drought in US West – CNS 2/17/22
A high pressure ridge near the West Coast has largely diverted precipitation away from California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington state and Idaho over the past six weeks, according to the agency. As a result, reservoir levels are already extremely low in southern Oregon, and in California the volume of water stored in the snowpack and reservoirs combined has plateaued.
The five western states are on “the precipice of drought intensification” if precipitation continues below normal — a prospect forecasts and historical odds indicate is likely, according to the status update.
The region is stuck in a megadrought that has enveloped southwestern North America for the past 22 years. The current megadrought, which is defined as drought last two decades or longer, is also the driest the region has gone through for more than 1,200 years, according to a recent study led by UCLA.

No end in sight: California drought on course to break another record – CalMatters 2/16/22
Most of the state’s reservoirs are sitting below historic averages despite the December deluge, with some notable exceptions, such as Folsom Reservoir — “the breadwinner of the storms,” Michael Macon, who works with the water board’s Division of Water Rights, said Tuesday.
Lake Shasta is about half a million acre-feet — enough to supply 1.5 million households for one year — short of where it stood last year. Oroville has climbed above last year’s levels, but the amount of water flowing out is starting to match water flowing in following a dry January, Macon said. 
Looking ahead, Anderson says it’s a matter of waiting and watching whether spring brings more rain and snow, and how quickly summer heats up. 

California Water Board unveils new ‘Water Watch’ site to track statewide water information – KSEE 2/17/21
Today, State Water Board officials unveiled “Water Watch” which puts drought monitoring, temperatures, snowpack, reservoir levels, subsidence, and streamflow information side-by-side in one place.
The department says they have increased the quality and usefulness of information with real-time observations and more data points. 

California Water Watch 

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