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Amid drought, state breaks another record for temperature


This summer is not yet halfway over, but already the record book has been reset.

California has posted a record high average temperature during the first six months of this year, exacerbating a prolonged drought and sending North Coast residents flocking to swimming pools and ice cream shops.

Wildland firefighters, unable to find relief while battling more than 3,600 blazes, have suffered life-threatening heat-related illnesses that sometimes required helicopter evacuation.

“It’s serious business,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief Scott McLean said, noting that dehydration takes a toll on personnel in almost every major fire.

The hot weather also has further depleted the state’s reservoirs, boosting public water consumption as well as natural evaporation, which equals the annual draw from Lake Sonoma — the main Russian River reservoir — by a city of 53,000.

via Amid drought, state breaks another record for temperature | The Press Democrat.

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Here comes El Nino; good news for US weather woes

Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, SFGATE.COM

Relief may be on the way for a weather-weary United States with the predicted warming of the central Pacific Ocean brewing this year that will likely change weather worldwide. But it won’t be for the better everywhere.

The warming, called an El Nino, is expected to lead to fewer Atlantic hurricanes and more rain next winter for drought-stricken California and southern states, and even a milder winter for the nation’s frigid northern tier next year, meteorologists say.

While it could be good news to lessen the southwestern U.S. drought and shrink heating bills next winter in the far north, "worldwide it can be quite a different story," said North Carolina State University atmospheric sciences professor Ken Kunkel. "Some areas benefit. Some don’t."

Globally, it can mean an even hotter year coming up and billions of dollars in losses for food crops.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric and Administration issued an official El Nino watch Thursday. An El Nino is a warming of the central Pacific once every few years, from a combination of wind and waves in the tropics. It shakes up climate around the world, changing rain and temperature patterns.

via Here comes El Nino; good news for US weather woes – SFGate.