Where’s did all the rain and snow go?
Following a fantastic beginning to the water year in Northern California, we’ve seen mostly dry days for the past month. Not only is California’s snowpack vanishing at an alarming rate, forecasts are showing no storms on the horizon. Some areas have yet to see rain this month, and if that continues, it would be the first rainless February since 1864, according to data from the National Weather Service.
So why aren’t we seeing the usual precipitation from California’s rainiest month?
The above satellite image shows a high-pressure ridge blocking storms from reaching California, and creating a difficult time for meteorologists to forecast when the storms might break through. Current models show no precipitation in the region for the next two weeks, leaving NorCal bone dry and raising fears of another drought. In contrast, last February saw record snowfall in the Sierra, with multiple ski resorts boasting nearly 300 inches in just one month.
The high pressure in the ridge is so strong, it’s pushing storms onto either side of California, creating a dry bubble.
“If you look at weather stories about Seattle right now, they’re getting hammered with storm after storm,” said Jan Null, a consulting meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Services, said to SFGate “The storms are going up over the top of the ridge into the Northwest, but not dipping down over California.”
Although we were dancing in the riches of precipitation in December, we might have a difficulty time rebounding following this dry month. Unless we get a #MiracleMarch to save us, dry conditions, low water levels and low Sierra snowpack could spell for high wildfire conditions this summer.
Start rain dancing, NorCal.