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Environment & Science

California Drought News: A likely El Niño, but will it be Godzilla or El Fizzle?



The likelihood of an El Niño and a wet winter has increased to 78%, but that doesn't necessarily mean an end to drought. Scientists say they want more time before anyone jumps to that conclusion.
The likelihood of an El Niño and a wet winter has increased to 78%, but that doesn't necessarily mean an end to drought. Scientists say they want more time before anyone jumps to that conclusion.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Friday's news remind us of the Great Space Coaster. If no gnus is good gnus (with Gary Gnu), then will a puppet wildebeest tell you when something potentially good happens with impending climate patterns? Well, even if he won't, I will, so let's dig in. 

"There are all kinds of El Niños: small, medium, large and Godzilla," said Bill Patzert, a research scientist and oceanographer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. "I don't see the Godzilla,'' he said. "But I'll give it another couple of months. This still could be El Fizzle. I don't want to recommend that you invest any of your retirement in the umbrella market yet." (SJ Mercury-News/Paul Rogers)
One woman in Mendocino County called the drought hotline to say she needed water to bathe her disabled husband, who was incontinent, said Brandon Merritt, a county analyst. Another family said it could not afford the $350 a private dealer was charging for a month-long supply of water. Schwartz, of the Mendocino Community Services District, has pushed the state to offer grants or loans to help residents purchase water or dig deeper wells. But Davis said the state will focus first on helping those who can be hooked up to existing water systems. (Thompson Reuters)
Santa Cruz, whose fresh water comes from the shrinking San Lorenzo River and a small reservoir, has gone further than other strapped utilities in embracing the idea of rationing, with fines for those who exceed their allotted shares. But other utilities around the state now have a tiered pricing system. Basic water use comes cheap. Consumption that is compatible with modest landscaping comes at a slightly higher cost. Excessive use comes at premium prices. (Sacramento Bee)

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