USDA: Record Low Snowpack in Cascades, Sierra Nevada

From the El Nino didn’t come this year department

nsm_swe_2015031405_NationalSource: http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/nsa/

WASHINGTON – Warm temperatures in February contributed to further snowpack decline in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada, according to data from the third 2015 forecast by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Snowpack in Nevada, Utah and Idaho also fell further behind normal.

“Nearly a third of our SNOTEL sites in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada are reporting the lowest snowpack ever measured,” NRCS Hydrologist Cara McCarthy said. “For the first time, some sites were snow-free on March 1st. These areas can expect reduced summer streamflow.”

Recent storms helped relieve dry conditions in the Southwest. However, drought conditions persist in California, Nevada and Utah, as well as in parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Areas in Washington and Oregon also remain in drought.

In Western states where snowmelt accounts for the majority of seasonal water supply, information about snowpack serves as an indicator of future water availability. Streamflow in the West consists largely of accumulated mountain snow that melts and flows into streams as temperatures warm in spring and summer. NRCS’ National Water and Climate Center scientists analyze the snowpack, air temperature, soil moisture and other measurements taken from remote sites to develop the water supply forecasts.

The Cascades of Oregon and Washington have received near normal levels of precipitation this water year, but it’s mostly fallen as rain instead of snow. Rainfall captured by reservoirs in those states will help mitigate dry spring and summer months.

NRCS monitors conditions year-round and will continue to issue monthly forecasts until June. The water supply forecast is part of several USDA efforts to improve public awareness and mitigate the impacts of climate change, including drought and other extreme weather events. Through the creation of the National Drought Resilience Partnership, launched as part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, federal agencies are working closely with states, tribes and local governments to develop a coordinated response to drought.

Since 1939, USDA has conducted snow surveys and issued regular water supply forecasts. Other resources on drought include the U.S. Drought Monitor. For information on USDA’s drought efforts, visit USDA Disaster and Drought Information. And to learn more about how NRCS is helping private landowners deal with drought, visit the NRCS’ drought resources.

View information by state

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150 thoughts on “USDA: Record Low Snowpack in Cascades, Sierra Nevada

    • I wonder what the 1930s would have looked like?

      ““Nearly a third of our SNOTEL sites in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada are reporting the lowest snowpack ever measured,”………”Since 1939, USDA has conducted snow surveys and issued regular water supply forecasts.”

      • A lot like now. Except this time around, instead of Okies coming to CA, the migration has reversed.

  1. Mods. Problem with this link: “View information by state.” (at bottom).
    Thanks

    [Noted. Don’t have an answer right now. .mod]

  2. the impacts of climate change, including drought and other extreme weather events….

    and when it floods

    • Yes they do. :-p

      Warm temperatures in February contributed to further snowpack decline in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada,………..

      You could also have said:

      Cold temperatures in February contributed to the “snowiest month of any month with 64.8 inches of snow, besting the previous record of 43.3 inches set in January 2005. Records in Boston date back to 1872…..”
      http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/snow

  3. You just gotta love this man-made, CO2 caused climate change meme. There is always someplace where unusual weather is happening and you can jump up and holler —> See I Told You it is Getting Worse! Send more money! Tax the people! Shut down the factories! … and so on.

    You just gotta love this post-science “science” of today. NOTE: I don’t see that we have any room to make fun of “cargo cult” primitives. They at least had observations on their side even if they misinterpreted those observations.

    • There is always someplace where unusual weather is happening and you can jump up and holler

      Agree.

      Multiply the amount of relevant areas, like continents, seas, glaciers, states, countries, countiues, islands and municipalities nearby You, with the number of different time frames like hour, day, week, season, year, with the number of chosen units, like one hour, 6 months, decade, century, with the number of different statistics, like rain, temperature, snowcover, snow depth, ice extent, ice depth, ice thickness, ice volume, ice area, humidity, number of storms, amount of sunshine, cloudyness, windspeed, greening, etc. Multiply that by two, because there are low records and high records.

      It is a big number. That’s why I’m not very impressed on the most dry 6 month period during the last 20 years at a particular mountaintop. Given the amount of variables, there are always records appearing in the records kept. The mere act of keeping a record guarantees records recorded.

    • markstoval
      March 14, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      You just gotta love this man-made, CO2 caused climate change meme. There is always someplace where unusual weather is happening……

      We have a winner! Now check out ‘unusual’, extreme weather events of 1935 and 1936. If this lot happened today warmists would be pooping their pants.

  4. Oh, we know what snow looks like. We had two feet of the stuff here in the desert in November, 2014. Then little more. That is why it’s called desert. Always a surprise weather wise!
    Paul in the Central Oregon desert.

  5. “…launched as part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, federal agencies are working closely with states, tribes and local governments to develop a coordinated response to drought.”

    Also known as “Golden Handcuffs.” The bribe money is received first. Accepting the federal funds for the Climate Action Plan by states is essentially an agreement to carry out future federal policies, sight-unseen.

    This is how Common Core was installed as the nationalized education curricula.

    • Yes, the new way of doing things; you have to pass it to know what’s in it.

      Why couldn’t they fly some of Boston’s snow over there? They probably dumped it in the harbor, what a waste of good snow.

  6. According to historic PDSI trend analysis California is experiencing levels of drought not seen since, well, ever (paleo records go back 1,200 years) The length and breadth of this current southwest drought is now officially a “megadrought” and the implications for population centers and food production in the American southwest is dire. With aggressive water conservation efforts in the agriculture sector, significant water consumption uses can be avoided. However, groundwater depletion in the Colorado River Watershed and in Central California indicate that we will not be able to implement these conservation measures before critical water shortages destroy a significant portion of agriculture in these regions. In fact, it is already happening in California, I mean, you should just SEE the price of hay!

      • Ahh, I see,

        SPI takes data on a station level and normalizes it. It then calculates the annual or in this case 48 month deviation from the norm. Then it averages the values for all the stations.

        Therefore, since more precipitation occurs in the northern sierras than, say death valley, if death valley gets TWO INCHES of rain, its 200% increase balances out the northern sierra station that normally gets 55 inches of rain but had NO rain AT ALL.

      • Will any of this affect my internet speed ?
        I don’t want to be a heartless bastard….but deserts are prone to drought aren’t they ?

      • Worst drought ever eh Jai?

        Yes, this is a real drought. Plus some 36 million inhabitants. Plus, even when the farms do not need the water, it is kept flowing for the smelt fish, per a court order. Thing is, during sever droughts like this, the fish would normally die off far more without all the reservoirs. Now days we have many many fish farms . Calif should have just built a fish farm or two for the smelt, rather then cause 25 year old citrus orchards to be torn out, ten of thousand to lose their jobs, and a greater drop in the water table, all for the calif smelt. Drop in the water table. Yes. There are well over 600 miles of open aqueducts to provide irrigation water to feed the farms. Many of those are being cut off, and therefore the seepage into the water table is likewise cut off.

        There is a real drought, greatly exasperated by inane government policy. Calif is spending billions on a bullet train that will be little used, if it is ever built. All the major cities on the coast could have been moving towards desalinization for the past 15 years, with an ounce of foresight. More reservoirs could have been built, with an ounce of foresight,

        Snowfall has not changed, on average in the last fifty years. (1, is the long term average)https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/christy_sierra-snowfall_trend.jpg

        http://books.google.com/books/about/Rainfall_and_stream_run_off_in_Southern.html?id=sJMJAQAAIAAJ
        To summarize the rainfall records from 1769 to 2000, Department of Water Resources data (230 years) show an average annual rainfall of 15.02 inches. The maximum in 1884 was 38.18 inches. The minimum in 1790 was 1.49 inch

        The RRR and the current loopy jet stream is not due to your suv’s exhaust.

      • @u.k.(us) ” will this affect my internet speed?
        If the warmists, the greens etc keep insisting on tearing out more hydro dams and keep spilling water to keep a few fish alive ( as others have eloquently described better than I ever could) yes it probably won’t affect your internet speed but where would you get the power from to run your PC or re-charge the batteries for you i-pad or whatever, let alone recharge your Tesla? We all want to have electric cars right? Why oh why do these people keep shooting themselves in the foot time and again is beyond me. Why or what or who is behind all this crazy illogical thinking??
        And please do not use the word “sustainability” in any explanation, thanks.

    • Remind me again which state is leading the way in “non-alternative” energy use?

      Rob the place of much needed CO2, you get what you deserve.

      Karma is a b****…

    • Historically people/cultures have repeatedly been forced to move because of drought.
      Not implying that California is a culture.

    • I don’t see your sarc tag. You do know this drought is nothing compared to the past? Or are you just ignoring the truth or just another paid shill?

    • Jai, I do not know what all is included in the “West” in your charts, but I do not believe that the dust bowl of the 30s extended to California. In fact, if you look at your PSDI chart, many of the low years appeared in the 1920s. The records are quite clear that California is very prone to long droughts. Going back a couple of thousand years, you will find droughts lasting decades. And in one case, the drought lasted over century. Yes, the drought is severe in California — although satellite pictures show healthy flora recently. Just as important as the lack of precipitation is California antiquated and often bizarre rules for water distribution.

    • It ain’t over yet. I’ve personally seen ten feet of Sierra snow in April. Rainfall is near normal. Now that the east coast seems to be done hogging all the precip for a bit, maybe it’s our turn. The graphic below shows San Francisco rainfall in the five driest years of by far the longest record on the west coast in fine lines, and the OMG recent drought years in heavy lines. This year is dead on normal so far.

      • While backpacking in the Sierra Nevada in August of 1976, we experienced nearly 2 ft. of snow on Duck Pass.

    • Actually, there have been at least two mega-droughts that lasted nearly 200 years each within the last 1,200 years. If anything, California’s climate is going back to the way it normally is–dry.

      In other words, we built the entire state of California over the past century on the assumption that the rainfall was normal, when it was in fact above average.

      • “In other words, we built the entire state of California over the past century on the assumption that the rainfall was normal, when it was in fact above average.” Not really…..enter Colorado river water and what we get from Oregon and Washington. But we didn’t do a good job of planning.

    • Yep… B. S. !
      If you read the study carefully you works have found that this extent of drought has happened 67 times I’m the last thousand years. They then used the Palmer drought index ( bristle cone pine temp data don’t you know) to proclaim it the worst drought in 1200 years . Again, I cry, BS!

  7. The Gang Green a month ago stopped reservoir managers in central/northern Calif from allowing water to flow to southern Calif and these managers obeyed them!! Clearly the Gang Green are holding people hostage to make them miserable and angry because the effects of the drought so they can be milked for every drop of propaganda, regulation and cash, not necessarily in that order. Environmentalism used to have some demonstrated purpose. Since its takeover by anti free enterprise lefty political agenda manipulators, the “species” have been basically left out to dry. They only get a mention when it serves the purpose of disrupting the economy.

    • I wondered why Castaic lake in So Cal which receives those deliveries dropped to 30% of capacity.

  8. Big West Coast Ridge much of the
    Winter produced the Eastern US
    Cold.

    La Niña conditions now forming.

    Bottled water for Southern California
    for a few years.

  9. The Olympics, which hold snow until June usually, are almost barren.
    So what? My late grandmother, living all her adult life in Western Washington, pointed out everything around here equals out. It WILL rain and snow again.

  10. Why is the governor not declaring a real state of emergency??

    I suppose he’s too involved with his White Elephant Bullet Train legacy project.

      • Exactly. 100 billion for a train we don’t really need, nothing for desal plants. Brilliant planning.

      • I have been frustrated at the extended amount of time they have had half of the road I live on closed off in order to lay pipe to the desal plant being built here in Carlsbad, CA. When it’s done we’ll be getting 11% of our water locally from the pacific ocean. This is an infinite improvement over the current status. Literally. We currently get 0% of our water locally. It is expensive as sin, but it will be drought proof. And it will be local jobs.

      • Does not Australia have a few desal plants that it has never used and no longer needs.
        Dismantle the portable parts , container ship across the Pacific , reassemble in San Diego . Job done.

  11. Since the ocean is still as full as ever, there is no shortage of water, only a shortage of water of the desired quality at an acceptable price. My local convenience store is stocked with gallons of water from Fiji and Iceland that could be sent via FedEx to anywhere in Kali overnight by the pallet-load. The only issue is money.

    And yes, this is partly tongue in cheek, but the truth is that Kali could have built desalination plants and had all the water that people wanted to pay for, except government and enviros make even this solution difficult.

      • Sure water would cost 2 to 4 times more if that was all that was used (unmixed with present supplies), but then if that’s all there is…….. The alternative is to empty the state of agriculture and possibly people, which agreed, some would consider a good idea.
        “Nobody disputes that the cost of water will go up. According to Yamada, the average customer’s bill, now $71 a month, will rise $5 to $7 to pay for desalination.”
        http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_25859513/nations-largest-ocean-desalination-plant-goes-up-near

      • Wayne, says.. “You already have desalination plants in California that are mothballed due to high operating costs
        ————————————–
        Link please. (You see one is being built in Carlsbad right now, and I know of zero in southern calif that were mothballed.) The technology and cost to do desalinization has greatly improved as well.

      • David A. if you read the article BFL linked you’ll see there is one desal plant in Santa Barbara that was mothballed after only 4 months use. AFAIK, that is the one and only mothballed desal plant in CA.

  12. The water supply forecast is part of several USDA efforts to improve public awareness and mitigate the impacts of climate change…

    Who knew that drought was not caused by the climate remaining static. If they think about it they really want the climate to change in that region so drought conditions change. I know I am spouting nonsense but only in response to “Climate Change” nonsense. This nonsense talk is too bad since it is a public service to provide water supply forecasts based on snow pack.

    Also a good thing is federal agencies working with states, tribes and local governments to develop responses to drought. However by paying obeisance to “Climate Change” they are promoting religion. Yes, religion.

    You could say “climate science” is science even though mis-guided, generally weak on its merits, and often confused as to whether it is science or a PAC.

    However “Climate Change” is a certifiable religion with one heck of an evangelical outreach component.

  13. I remember in 1976 we had an incredible snow pack in the Eagle Cap mountains followed by torrential warm rain that brought all of it down in mud slides. I was in one of them. Literally. The house we were in stayed on its foundation and though the mud was a foot up on the picture window, it didn’t break and the mud continued around the side of the house and down the road. The cabin further down was shoved off its foundation by the mud.

    I also remember a very low snow pack winter in those same mountains. I visited during spring break to supervise a new roof on the old ranch house. It rained (of freaken course) in the Wallow valley and dumped snow in the mountains, bringing the snow pack back up to within the average range. It ain’t over till the last freeze at 3000ft and up, which according to my grandmother is May 7th.

    Call my nonplused by the excitement.

    • In the “Great White North” we always say you don’t plant your garden till the May 24th long weekend. And about 50% of the time, we get snow in the recreation areas on the east slope of the Rockies that weekend.

      Plant before that, and be prepared to cover all the sprouting plants to protect them from nightly frosts.

    • Agreed Pamela I experienced the same ’76. I was working in the Tri -Cities at the time.
      hearing a Geologist say that he new “Ice Age was upon US!!!”
      Have a picture of a friend’s Airplane that was taken from another that was flying over the Eagle Caps that year( i was flying the camera plane) That was pretty impressive snow…

      • “In accepting the validity of the 1,140 inches of snowfall at Mt. Baker, the National Climatic Data Center recognizes that a new record has been set,” said Tom Karl, director of the center. “The previous U.S. seasonal snowfall record was 1,122 inches, set during the 1971-1972 snowfall season at Mt. Rainer/Paradise, a station located at 5,500 feet on the slopes of Mt. Rainer, about 150 miles south of Mt. Baker.”

        “The Mount Baker downhill ski area achieved the world’s record for receiving the most snow in a single year when 1140 inches, or 95 feet, (2896 cm) landed between July 1, 1998 and June 30, 1999.”

        Two weeks ago, flying severe clear over the North Cascades and Okanogan I noticed the mountains appeared as they would in late June to July. Spectacular as always.

  14. Oh, we know what snow looks like. We had two feet of the stuff here in the desert in November, 2014. Then little more. That is why it’s called desert. Always a surprise weather wise! Paul in the Central Oregon desert.

    Paul, where in Central Oregon? I live in Seattle but spend a lot of time east of the Cascades, mostly in the John Day country, but also in the Steens Mountain country and occasionally in the Wallowas. We were near Steens in early December and there was a bit of snow but it seemed generally pretty dry. I love reading histories of eastern Oregon. The climate variations have been extreme during and since the pioneer days, and this is something I sometimes cite when talking to cult believers.

    Any further detail you want to post about what’s been going on down there will have at least one very interested reader. I couldn’t even begin to describe how much I love central and eastern Oregon. I’ve been to all 50 states and 25 countries, and your region is right up at the top of my list.

    • Fought fire for the USFS in John Day back around ’95 – ’97. Best assignment I ever had in that job. Some day I’ll tell the back story about the Strawberry Mtn fire… (speaking of bad science)

      • Yes I concur. Write it up please, I love the history of “the west” especially when it helps me with finding out more about “non model” weather history. Is it between the Coastal mountain ranges and the Rockies or over that “hump” and further east? ( I also believe there are some old volcanic areas?)
        Thanks beforehand.

      • That would be interesting, Bill. I just drove through the Strawberries in December. What a stunning place. I especially like the view from the top of the hill on U.S. 26, east of Prairie City, and from FS Road 16.

      • Actually across from where the Taco Bell church used to be located, before it was burned by the CRR fire and rescue.

      • I’ve driven up 97 a whole bunch of times, but never into your development. I’m a huge fan of the region. In fact, am making longterm plans to move there to escape the “progressives” of Seattle before they outlaw my pickup truck.

    • Here out of Frenchglen, Oregon, Steens Mountain had around 100% of normal snowfall around the turn of the year. We had quite a bit of snow for the High Desert just after Christmas, and it was bitterly cold. Then January showed up, and that was that. Spring arrived early in Western Oregon (i.e., late January), and it was mild in Harney County, as well. There was a smattering of snow in Frenchglen February 21 and 21, and then it pretty much dried out again. We had a pretty fair (for here) rain today, but that’s predicted to be it for a while. There’s still white high up on Steens Mountain, but it starts getting sparser north of the Kiger Gunsight.

      A couple of years ago Malheur Lake had water lapping at the Narrows. Now it’s just a mud flat.

      Malheur and Lake Counties have sought and received drought declaration from the Governor’s office. Harney may as well.

      I go back and forth across the Cascades from the Willamette Valley to Frenchglen every 3 weeks or so. Santiam Pass at 4817 feet is bare (or at least it was Thursday afternoon).

      • Up here in the Southern Interior of BC Canada (virtually straight N. of Spokane WA and a very similar climate) we have had a (until now) a very dry start to the new year aside from one major snowfall (42 cm over 30 hrs) nothing since or prior. Our average annual rain is 9″-12″, the snow (42 cm, < 2 inches) sounds average spread out over a three month period, (if you compare it to annual averages). But in reality it has been very dry. This all came in one event that is why I do not like using annual averages they can be very misleading.( not sure if I made sense)

      • I visited Frenchglen for the first time in 2011. That was the year without a spring. Everything was a month and a half late. In mid-June the Steens loop road was still closed, and the water was so high that another six inches would’ve posed real issues for the levees along the Silvies River. Got a flat tire out on East Steens Mtn. Rd.; an Oregon State Police officer happened to be off-route and changed the tire. (People are like that in SE Oregon; it’s like America 75 years ago in the best possible way.)

        Anyhow, in ’11 the water was so high in the roadside culvert that when I got the flat I was paranoid as all get-out about rattlesnakes, knowing their affinity for water. I joked to the cop that it probably wasn’t a nail in the tire but a puncture from a rattler lying on the road, fangs-up. He said he’d seen about 15 of them that day.

        Fast forward to 2012, and it was so dry that 600,000 acres burned, and the ranchers had to rely on shipments of hay from the Cattlemen Associations elsewhere. In ’13, we were there in July when the temp was 105F, and then in December when the temp was -30F in Burns. Then in ’14 it was dry again, and another 300,000 acres burned.

        I have fallen crazy in love with the high desert, so I have a stack of histories. One book has a chapter on the climate, and it really rips! They’ve had temps >80F in every month of the year, and snow in every month but August. There have been days in early July that started with a blizzard and hit 90F-plus with no clouds by the same afternoon.

        The Silvies, nio slouch of a river, has gone entirely dry since pioneer days, then refilled. Same for Summer and Abert lakes. In the 1930s, Abert went dry enough to uncover a pioneer wagon with the skeleton of a girl who’d been killed by Indians, the cause determined by the marks on the bones. This would suggest strongly that Abert was dry when the pioneers moved through and into the area in the mid-1800s along the various cutoffs from the Oregon Trail.

        When we were there in ’11, Abert Lake was high. Now it’s vanishing. And of course the shifting waterlines of Malheur and Mud lakes played a key role in the battles between the cattlemen, including Pete French, and the homesteaders who moved in later. Homesteaders staked claims near the Narrows during dry times, only to see the waters rise. Or was it the other way around, and the disputes were over land uncovered during dry times?

        I forget which, but I know it was an underlying impetus for the tensions that ultimately got Pete French murdered by a homesteader on the day after Christmas 1897. A homesteader-dominated Harney County jury found the killer not guilty on grounds of “self defense.” This didn’t happen all that long ago, and many of the original families are still there, including a guy who didn’t smile when I asked about French. “Pete French had it coming,” he said.

        Today, the largest ranch in America, the ZX at about 1 million acres, is located in the 1,500 square miles near Paisley, which was once known as a very rowdy cowboy town where, all through Prohibition, a man could have drinks, a fight or two, and a whore, all within walking distance of his horse.

        West of there, between Fort Rock and the Christmas Valley, the wet years from about 1900 through about 1925 drew homesteaders, who planted crops and made good. Then the cycle turned. Everything went dry. In one year in the mid-’20s, something like 80% of the settlers left in a single year. Shortly thereafter, the federal government ordered the cabins burned, so there’s not many traces left.

        In that area, it’s all about the water, and it regularly goes up and down without any human assistance, Always has, always will. Recently, the Portland Oregonian tried to blame the drying up of Lake Abert on ranchers of the area using too much water. Completely preposterous. In the comment section of the article, I think I suggested that the lazy “reporter” take a walk to the Oregon Historical Society in downtown Portland and open a book or three, if he dared.

      • p.s.: Harney County, Oregon has almost exactly the same land area as Israel and the West Bank combined. I’ve proposed a cattle-for-Jews swap, and if they get nostalgic for the wars then we could surely ask some of Idaho people to be Palestinians for a day. Oddly enough, my idea hasn’t caught on.

      • Jake J says, “Oddly enough, my idea hasn’t caught on.”

        Knowing the Argonians they would rather have the 2nd Jordanian state (Palestine) inside of their state than the Israeli democracy.

  15. I recall the Caslifornia drought in the ’70’s and ’80’s very well. It was bad — but not as bad as this!

    Since then, we have had a giant influx of illegals; citizens of Mexico and Central American countries, who are encouraged to come here illegally, by both their government and ours. They all need water. The true population of California [and many neighboring states] has nearly doubled since 1980, due directly to illegal immigration.

    I see them washing their cars in driveways, and many of them live 8 – 12 to a room in the inner city areas. It is a real problem. It is an invasion. Is there any doubt?

    The Constitution says something about that. But the politicians don’t seem to care. Since the illegals vote [illegally], no one wants to tell them to vamoose. So, guess who pays? Guess who has to ration their water extra carefully?

      • Forgot to add that since the National number will be ~47%, Texas and California will be the equivalent of Mexican States. Maybe BajaCal and TexaTama

      • – – So what.The opportunities are unlimited.- –
        Well, maybe, it won’t actually become like Mexico proper, which is about a fingers width from a civil war (drug kingpins v government).

      • We’ve got an armed citizenry, that will take things into their own hands if needed.
        Drug kingpins ?, we’ve got them, but they are very low profile (it extends their life).
        You can play a little bit in the U.S., but it better be under the radar.

      • u.k.(us) ,

        Mexicans can have guns, too. They are limited to .380’s, but that will do the job for personal protection. They may or may not be harder to get, but using civilian guns to control gangbangers with AK-47’s isn’t a real good argument.

        The problem is the flouting of the rule of law. I’ve got no objection to opening up more legal immigration. Lots more; no problem. But right now they flood over the border at will, and the flood of illegals is increasing every month. It’s like Jimmy Carter’s Mariel boat lift, where Castro opened up his insane asylums and prisons, and sent 100,000+ undesirables to the U.S. Do you think the good folks from good families are pulling up stakes and leaving Mexico? They’re not. The Mexican government even issues free comic books, explaining exactly how to cross the border, and how to get on the dole.

        Also, my wife’s relative has a house on thee border in San Ysidro [south of San Diego]. A month ago they caught a ‘middle eastern’ guy coming over their wall. He couldn’t even speak English. And the UK has similar problems. There are large sections of the UK that you cannot safely travel through without having a black beard. Then there are America’s own cities, like Dearborn…

        No, this is a problem that must be corrected. Otherwise, there is no United States any more. This isn’t regulated, like Ellis Island. This is akin to the Germanic tribes flooding over the Rhine into Roman lands. The Roman empire didn’t last long after that.

    • If I remember my history correctly, Anglos were the illegal aliens in California for a hundred years or so.

      • Yes, Paul. Spoils of war. Where do you want to draw that line in history?

        Read up on the Treaty of Guadaloupe-Hidalgo.

        And there was only a tiny handful of any nationality in California back then. Most of the territory was uniunhabited, with Native Americans being the biggest population.

      • Mexico was no longer in charge of Calif. In 1845 the “Califorinos” wealthy Spanish families, had kicked the Mexican government out. The British were still interested in Calif, and had a large fleet off-shore The US moved in, and most of the sparse population was pleased, and honestly better off.

        The vanished past of all nations is dark with many shames, but I think this barely warrants an un-honorable mention, if that.

    • As far as “illegals” go, read a little California history and ask the California Indians who the “illegals” are. Then go listen to Tom Russel’s “Who’s Gonna Build Your Wall” and think about the real meaning of that song.

      As far as water rationing goes, during a serious drought it was already on the cards in ’70s drought. Reagan had already commissioned a study of rainfall in the southwest (it did not stop at the state borders) by the DWR. That study identified the major, multidecadal droughts of the Medieval Warm Period (“epic drought”). The conclusion AT THAT TIME was that the state was on the teetering edge as far as adequate water goes. During an event like the MWP you could dam every stream in the state and still not supply adequate water to the state population as of 1970. Worse, attempting to satisfy the demands of an increasingly urban population would lead to a continuously deteriorating economy as farmers were squeezed and actual productive enterprise was replaced by what we have now. Now we have Jerry looking to run tunnels under the Delta so the folks in the south lands won’t have to pick the salt from the delta out of their water with a tweezers.

  16. In the Canadian Rockies we too are having near-record low snowfall this year … but last year we had record high snowfall!

  17. “Nearly a third of our SNOTEL sites in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada are reporting the lowest snowpack ever measured,” NRCS Hydrologist Cara McCarthy said.

    Someone remind me; how long have we been measuring? And just how deep was the snowpack before those pesky Cascades were there? How deep will it be after they are gone? Climate, among other things, changes. So does the weather.

    If I were immortal I’d start hitting the panic button about the time the sun started to go red giant, ’cause I’d find I was wrong about the immortal part. Yes indeed, things change, sometimes just after breakfast and sometimes it takes a little longer.

    • Someone remind me; how long have we been measuring?

      I think they’ve got about 125 years worth of direct measurements.

  18. Is this real?

    “Beginning about 1,100 years ago, what is now California baked in two droughts, the first lasting 220 years and the second 140 years. Each was much more intense than the mere six-year dry spells that afflict modern California from time to time, new studies of past climates show. The findings suggest, in fact, that relatively wet periods like the 20th century have been the exception rather than the rule in California for at least the last 3,500 years, and that mega-droughts are likely to recur.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/1994/07/19/science/severe-ancient-droughts-a-warning-to-california.html

    • Quoting from your link, “There appears to be little doubt that the epic dry spells of the past did occur, he said, adding that “what has happened can happen.” ”

      I particularly like the truism, “what has happened can happen.” Indeed, but what happened in AD 900 would not be from the insinuated Carbon.

      Benson et al 2002 cored Pyramid Lake, Owens Lake and some lake in New Mexico in the style of the Ocean Drilling Project.

    • Oh yeah. What’s better, with a wet suit, mask and snorkel it is something anyone can field verify. Just go to Lake Tahoe or some of the other natural Sierran lakes that PG&E hasn’t modified to a fare-thee-well. Pick the right spot to dive and you can photograph stumps rooted 10 feet or more below the surface. Those trees not only had to have dry land conditions, those conditions had to persist long enough for the trees to mature. It is the chief reason that “more dams” is a profoundly stupid idea. They won’t help in a real California drought.

  19. It only took a few minutes to find information about the snow/precipitation droughts of 1976-77 and 2005.
    I was only looking at the Mount Hood area, where I live. Those years within the same time frames had less snow, and less rain. Today, in fact, it has rained 3 inches on Mount Hood, up to 11,00 feet. I originally hail from northern Michigan. The ski resort I worked at for two decades has 60″ on the ground. Normally by mid March it would be dirt.

      • However we are so far in the hole now, it is unlikely that April and May precip will erase the deficit.

      • The good side of that is that the CDF will not tell us that the “excess rain” has created a large fuel load that will increase fire danger. But they will go on about the dry conditions.

  20. California’s water problems are neither new nor without solutions. No one wants to implement solutions because waiting has always worked. Just as it will this time. Getting politicians to plan instead of react to water conservation in California is a problem. Unfortunately it’s a diminishing returns scenario where keeping 5 years supply is WAY more than keeping 2 years. Farming uses 75% of the water and feeds many, many people. Smarter agriculture irrigation would probably offer the biggest bang for the buck to help limit drought effects.

    • Having the major coastal urban areas produce their own water through desalination is about the only sensible solution. It might cost them, but at present the entire state subsidizes the biggest cities with the poorest local supplies of water. Right now an immense amount of water is shipped south of the Tehachapis to no profit to the rest of the state. Another major volume is used to irrigate desert in the southern San Joaquin Valley, providing water-hungry crops like cotton and sileage corn.

  21. According to Wikipedia, California has had two mega-droughts in the last millennium or so: 850 AD – 1090 AD (240 years) and 1140 AD – 1320 AD (180 years). But who cares, given the complete lack of news or political value in history?

  22. I knew this would happen!

    More than one person has pointed out that California has had normal rain this year so far. Yes, the reservoirs are not full enough! But this is due to huge population growth and water use coupled with hardly any change in water reserves!

    My family lived in California since the Gold Rush. The bellowing about the rain shortage is most irritating. If people hate the dry weather so much, maybe they can all move to Michigan. But they won’t.

    • “Yes, the reservoirs are not full enough! But this is due to huge population growth and water use coupled with hardly any change in water reserves!” +1

      • Fortunately two of the largest reservoirs, Shasta and Oroville, are significantly above last year at this time. However with the lower snow pack, we will see what the rest of the year brings.

    • The numbers. Since 1970, California’s population has grown 87%. It’s water storage capacity has grown 28%. Agriculture, which ordinarily under western water law takes priority by prior use doctrine, takes the hit. Goofy state.

  23. The American “Geophysical” Union rallies to send a letter to Senator Ted Cruz.

  24. Now I’m confused. Where’s the catastrophic change? Are these the reasons the Earth’s civilized, democratic part needs to be taxed idle?

    Since economic growth seems to have a beneficial impact on atmospheric CO2 levels, there is still one more thing worth trying. Let’s leave the green supermen to save the planet with their own devices. Sooner or later Gaia will bless these areas with water in one form or another and homo sapiens sapiens can be given a break.

  25. All that Californian snow has gone off to southeastern Europe. Det “Polar Vortex” duzza strainch tings peeple!

  26. Snow pack levels are only important because humans have set up a society that depends on them. Mother Nature doesn’t give a damn about what humans want or need. Oh, and as a reminder, Florida is full don’t come here.

  27. Um USDA, there is no indication of increased weather extremes or drought based on your fantasy called global warming. Got it?. Good. 😒

  28. Jet-stream synoptics — unusual cold (and heavy snow) in the east & unusual warmth (and little snow) in the west is not an uncommon situation. The only thing unusual is the fear-mongering and hand-wringing — at least compared to the last couple centuries.

    Virgin sacrifices are no longer popular remedies, so fossil-fuel sacrifices have become popular.

  29. Anthony There are different enso events. The type of event we are in now is a weak enso 3.4 very similar to the very warm dry western winter in 76-77. ( see the chart at the end of this linked) The enso was supposed to be a modoki event. We have just had the 5th straight month of the enso 3.4 above .5C, which is indicative of the weak modoki. Our forecast from weatherbell.com forecasted a very cold winter over the east and midwest, further east than last year. . The se pac hurricane season was as close to 1976 as you can get. The November this year went after 1976. This was followed by a very similar Dec/Jan that we saw in the 1957-1958 winter. I dont mean to sound harsh, but broad brushing any enso event simply is not the right thing to do. In fact we may find the interior southwest spring, like the fall turns wet. Remember after the enso event of 76-77, the el nino continued and it got wet in the southwest the following wnter . While this winter is dry and I expected it to be wetter there ( bust) , there are many sensible events that turned out very close to the result of the enso event we are looking at, most notably the major eastern cold in the latter part of the season. The sudden SOI crash in mid Jan, was similar to what we saw in Jan 10 that preceded snowmeggedon ala mid atlantic, and if you remember the cries of winters over were ringing out loudly that winter too. If you look at the entire set of enso events where 3.4 is warmer than 1.2 than you will see February went to the cold that is the signature of that. I would suggest an objective player on this matter is the excellent JAMSTEC site, as it seems to be unbiased observer of the whole thing.
    http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/research/d1/iod/e/seasonal/outlook.html

    The opening statement from them:

    ENSO forecast: The SINTEX-F model prediction and present observations show that an “El Niño Modoki”condition prevails in the tropical Pacific. As per the model predictions the warmer than normal SST anomalies are expected to continue in the central Pacific through the boreal summer.

    But all enso events are not created equal and the warm water that is still present around Australia will continue to limit what this can get to. The most dangerous enso winters in the east are the warm PDO but the enso 3.4 warmer than 1.2, which has cooled to below normal. As this evolved the hammer from the arctic responded. We may have it again next year!

    I would also suggest reading Nemias on the winter of 57-58 http://www.calcofi.org/publications/calcofireports/v07/Vol_07_Namias.pdf and also Nemias on the winters of the late 1970s as they supply insight into the type of enso events we are looking at. One thing I will say, the winter this year did not blend analogs nicely. Its like a family reunion. Everybody starts drinking and sometimes they all get together and are nice, sometimes fights break out. This winter was the latter. It seemed like different analogs took over at different times.. starting with 76-77 then going to the 57-58 event ( which was a multi year event).. CPC agreed with our assessment that we are in a very similar period decade wise as the late 1950s.) I think the danger, and you saw it with the noaa forecasts, is to broad brush the enso event. We are in a period where the PDO is spiking but overall is going be cold in the decadol sense. The atlantic is cooling as Gray/Klotzbach show with their AMO, which I think is the gold standard on that. The point is you have many things, including the solar, that are going at once. In fact I think this is the golden age for meteorologist, as we are getting a chance to really observe what has happened before, but could not see.I believe we are in a great climatic shift again, opposite of the sudden warming of the late 1970s and there will be a collapse of Pacific SST’ within a couple of years.. If you look at the evolution in 1957-1961 you can see this. After the cooling in the early 50s, it warmed late, then went into the tank after that. Once the Atlantic flips for good, then its on against the AGW ilk as there should be the corresponding global temp drop that will make the post enso drops we have seen since 2007 look like childs play. I think we are heading back, by 2030 to where we were in 1978 global temp wise, at the end of the last cold cycle and I think overall we are very close to the late 1950s with that.

    57 was much stronger than where we are now, and I think we could see this get to moderate, but too much going against it in other parts of the basin to allow the kind of super nino that the AGW ilk cherishes and busted severely on from last April. Of that there is no doubt. . They are getting their warmer readings more so because of the NPAC and their super nino missive was a huge bust. In any case, the latest 3 month in Feb, though not on this yet, was .6 which would fulfill the 5 month .5 or greater needed to “declare” the enso event. Notice how these weak events are associated with the major cold eastern winters!
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml

    cheers mi cumpare

    [Thank you sir. .mod]

    • Which brings up something I have been thinking for a while. What can be discovered regarding a prolonged La Nada, neutral, El Nado and the subsequent swing up or down? This extended pattern of not being either one may be an important predictor. How long has it been since we have had such an extended period of time?

    • Great comment, Joe. One question: Do you think it’ll be pretty much downhill from here to 2030, or will there be a bump upward in between that will have the AGW crowd claiming proof of AGW?

    • JB, no doubt the Modoki call was nailed and verified. But why such a rant on a poorly worded headline? JAMSTEC models you quoted (the past few years) also were bullish on precip for all of west coast for DJF….Modoki included. It’s all in the opening statements of their seasonal outlooks as well….just scroll a wee bit. Something about a “California Nino”….

      What on earth did CFS and JAMSTEC especially see in their seasonal forecasts for west coast precip being above average? –They should have looked in the atmosphere– Your accurate warm west cold east played out well, when there is a warm west cool east it is almost always is dry in CA with Nino, Nina or nada. only exception I know of is 77-78 El NIno The CFS forecast an El Nino signature precip pattern and JAMSTEC was almost a combo Nino and Nina for WA, OR and CA.

    • How important is the wind you can see after the temperature of Humboldt. La Nina is coming.

      Will rapidly accrete the ice around Antarctica.

  30. got about 10″ of snow today (maine) I will gladly send them.
    actually not positive on amount as I have not steppe doutside all day but is at least 8 and some drifts around 14 so 10 is an informed estimate.

    [Come on! Sno’ claims of scientific inaccuracy without a measurement at least! We require a ruler in the snowbank, standard deviations, trends over the past years, and at least one peer-reviewed ruler. 8<) .mod]

    • LOL you come shovel off deck and I will then take measurement from protected area i use :)

      living up here in snow country we get pretty good about estimating at a glance and it is odd for me to be off more than 2″ and thats usually only when a lot of drifting.

      been a bad year, burned out more snow blower belts (some cost 80$) this year than last 4 years combined. not so much the amount but the amount in short time in Feb and having to move the banks back. get odd looks when people see a tractor sitting close to vertical in a snow bank clearing the tops off. deestone superlugs directional lugged tires REALLY dig in well LOL
      too well sometimes but I digress.

  31. And Seattle just set an all time record high amount of rainfall for the date. The water is out there, just that a persistent ridge of high pressure is keeping it out of California. Not a global climate issue — a local weather issue.

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