Winter forecast suggests drought worries not over for California


Weather Service foresees drought persisting into 2015

If ever there was a winter when California needed rain, this is it. One early prediction, however, offers little hope.
A winter outlook released Thursday by the National Weather Service suggests drought is likely to continue in many parts of California for a fourth straight year. Although that prediction is early and marked by some uncertainty, it’s enough to keep water officials on edge.
“California is now extremely vulnerable to water shortages,” said Kevin Werner, western regional climate services director at the National Weather Service. “The situation is unlikely to change even if we get an average winter.”
He noted the three-year drought now underway is the driest ever recorded in the state.
The forecast by the agency’s Climate Prediction Center is an effort to broadly frame what kind of weather lies ahead through January. This time frame encompasses a big share of the usual period in which California might hope for some drought relief. And the outlook is not encouraging.
According to the forecast, odds favor greater than average precipitation only in Southern California, mainly south of Bakersfield. While that is certainly a bright spot in the forecast, it is Northern California and its Sierra Nevada that need heavy precipitation to replenish rivers and reservoirs that supply water for two-thirds of the state’s population. There, no strong signal exists to suggest either wet or dry conditions, said Mike Halpert, acting director of the prediction center.
Read more via Winter forecast suggests drought worries not over for California | The Sacramento Bee.

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