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California's Dry Weather Is Bad News For Wildfires And Water Supply




A sign calls for dam water to help the agricultural communities of California's San Joaquin Valley on the outskirts of Lemoore, California on March 31, 2021.
A sign calls for dam water to help the agricultural communities of California's San Joaquin Valley on the outskirts of Lemoore, California on March 31, 2021.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

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It's now April, which means that California's rainy season has officially come to an end.

And because we're not likely to see much more precipitation until next winter, it's the perfect opportunity to reflect on where we're at in terms of water throughout the state, and what the rest of the year is going to look like. In short: it's bad.

We're now officially entering our second year of worsening drought conditions after a paltry showing of rain and snow back in 2020. That left us in a critically dry position in the fall, with 84% of the state experiencing some level of drought. And because of the disappointing showing of precipitation over the past four months, that's now spread to 91% of the state, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The credit for any sort of moisture this rainy season belongs to only a few storms, most notably the late January atmospheric river, which was responsible for 50% of this year's all important snowpack. Another example of how crucial the storm systems are here. That said, it wasn't enough to get us to "normal." And without a miracle March to save us, we're left with a snowpack across the Sierra that's only 61% of average for April 1. That's concerning because a significant portion of water for our landscapes and reservoirs comes from the snowpack, especially through the dry months. Speaking of water storage, the sustained dry weather is starting to take a toll on our reservoirs which had recovered following our last drought. Today on AirTalk, Larry talks with KPCC/LAist reporter Jacob Margolis to talk about the issue. 

Read the full LAist story from Jacob Margolis here

Guest:

Jacob Margolis, KPCC/LAist science reporter, his latest story is “California's Dry Weather Is Bad News For Wildfires And Water Supply,” he tweets @JacobMargolis