Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS San Francisco Bay Area, CA

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DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
316 PM PDT TUE JUN 3 2014

...DROUGHT STATUS UPDATE...

AS OF APRIL 24, 2014, ALL AREAS WITHIN THE 11-COUNTY SERVICE AREA,
BUT EXCLUDING AREAS NORTH OF THE SF BAY, CARRY THE DROUGHT
DESIGNATION D4 (EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT, THE HIGHEST CATEGORY OF DROUGHT
CLASSIFICATION). AREAS IN THE NORTH BAY (MARIN, SONOMA, AND NAPA COUNTIES)
CONTINUE TO BE UNIFORMLY CLASSIFIED AS D3. CURRENTLY, NEARLY THREE
QUARTERS (77%) OF THE STATE IS D3 OR HIGHER, WHILE APPROXIMATELY
ONE QUARTER (24.8%) OF THE STATE IS D4. WITHIN THE GREATER SF AND
MONTEREY BAY AREAS, RAIN-YEAR-TO-DATE (BEGINNING JULY 1, 2013
EXTENDING TO CURRENT) PRECIPITATION IS GENERALLY AT 40 TO 55
PERCENT OF NORMAL (PON), WITH THE EAST BAY GENERALLY REACHING 65
PON AND THE NORTH BAY REACHING APPROXIMATELY 75 PON. WHILE THESE
PRECIPITATION NUMBERS DO NOT SOUND TREMENDOUSLY ALARMING, THE
TIMING AND LOCALIZED NATURE OF PRECIPITATION EVENTS THIS YEAR
SEVERELY LIMITED THE ABILITY OF LONG TERM WATER STORES (GROUND
WATER, RESERVOIRS) TO RETAIN A SUPPLY SUFFICIENT FOR VARIOUS
DEMANDS DURING DRY SPELLS OVER THE PAST YEAR OR MORE. AS AN
EXAMPLE, THE MOST NOTABLE STORM THIS WINTER (OF THE VERY FEW THAT
ACTUALLY DID OCCUR) DELIVERED COPIOUS RAINFALL TO MARIN COUNTY IN
FEBRUARY (NOTABLY THE MT. TAM AREA), WHICH DID REPLENISH LOCAL
WATER SUPPLY RESERVOIRS. HOWEVER, JUST A FEW MILES EAST IN MARIN
COUNTY, NOVATO CREEK RESPONDED ONLY MODESTLY TO RUNOFF BUT
IMMEDIATELY RETREATED TO A DRY STREAM BED FOLLOWING THE STORM.
FORTUNATELY, NOVATO CREEK IS NOT A WATER SUPPLY WATERSHED, BUT THE
EXAMPLE DEMONSTRATES THAT ONLY HIGHLY LOCALIZED IMPROVEMENTS
OCCURRED THIS WINTER AMIDST THE INTENSIFYING DROUGHT.

AS WE MOVE OUT OF SPRING AND INTO SUMMER, THE EFFECTS OF THE
DROUGHT WILL CONTINUE TO INTENSIFY, DESPITE MUCH OF THE AREA
ALREADY BEING CLASSIFIED WITH THE HIGHEST DROUGHT SEVERITY.
RESERVOIR INFLOWS ACROSS CALIFORNIA ARE MINIMAL TO NON-EXISTENT AT
THIS POINT. CASE IN POINT: THE SIERRAN SNOW PACK IS ALREADY
ESSENTIALLY GONE. STREAM FLOWS WILL CONTINUE TO ONLY BE FED BY THE
MOST RESILIENT SPRINGS AND GROUNDWATER STORES, SOME OF WHICH MAY
EXHAUST THEMSELVES DURING THE SUMMER. WATER MANAGERS WILL CONTINUE
TO STRUGGLE IN MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS OF RIPARIAN HABITAT WHILE
PROVIDING WATER SUPPLY TO THEIR CUSTOMERS, ALL UNDER REVENUE
CONSTRAINTS IMPOSED BY BOTH THE LACK OF SUPPLY, CONSERVATION
EFFORTS, AND MANDATORY OR VOLUNTARY RESTRICTIONS. GROUNDWATER
LEVELS IN COASTAL AQUIFERS WILL CONTINUE TO DROP, ALTHOUGH IT IS
NOT CLEAR IF THE AQUIFERS THEMSELVES WILL REACH CRITICALLY
DEPLETED LEVELS. IN FACT, THE EFFECTS OF THE DROUGHT ON
GROUNDWATER RESOURCES ALONG THE CENTRAL COAST (AND ELSEWHERE) WILL
BE FELT THROUGH 4 MAIN EFFECTS THAT MAY NOT BE OBVIOUS FROM
AQUIFER STORAGE LEVELS ALONE: SUBSIDENCE (GROUND SURFACE LOWERING
CAUSED BY EXTRACTION), DECREASED WATER QUALITY THROUGH
CONCENTRATION OF CONSTITUENTS OF CONCERN, SALT WATER INTRUSION AS
SEA WATER REPLACES PUMPED FRESH WATER IN COASTAL AQUIFERS, AND
WELLS THAT GO DRY BECAUSE THEY AREN`T DEEP ENOUGH TO REACH DEEPER,
MORE RESILIENT STORES. ADDITIONALLY, THE WILDFIRE FIGHTING COMMUNITY
WILL BE FIGHTING MORE FIRES THIS YEAR: THE LITTLE RAIN WE DID
RECEIVE KEPT LARGE FUEL SOURCES (TREES) DRY WHILE QUICKLY
REBUILDING THE MORE VOLATILE INVENTORY OF GROUND GRASSES WHICH
HAVE CONSEQUENTLY NOW CURED ALREADY. SOIL MOISTURE TYPICALLY
DAMPENS TEMPERATURE INCREASES, BUT BECAUSE THE GROUND IS SO DRY,
AMBIENT TEMPERATURES WILL TEND TO BE WARMER THIS SUMMER. THE RESULT IS A
LANDSCAPE PRIMED TO BURN WITH DIMINISHED SUPPLIES OF WATER TO
FIGHT FIRE.

DESPITE THE EFFECTS OF THE ONGOING DROUGHT, THERE ARE INDICATIONS
IN SOME SECTORS THAT WATER SUPPLY IS NOT AS LIMITED AS WE MIGHT
HAVE IMAGINED. WHILE SOME WELLS ARE GOING DRY OR FACING WATER
QUALITY CONCERNS, OTHERS ARE CONTINUING TO PROVIDE SUPPLY IN A
RELIABLE FASHION. CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS ARE AGAIN PULLING TOGETHER
AS THEY DID 35 YEARS AGO TO CUT BACK WATER USAGE THROUGH THEIR OWN
EFFORTS OR WITH ENCOURAGEMENT AND SUPPORT FROM THEIR LOCAL WATER
SUPPLY AGENCIES AND COMPANIES.

AT THIS POINT, ALL EYES ARE FOCUSED ON WHAT NEXT FALL AND WINTER
PORTEND. WHILE THERE ARE GLIMMERS OF HOPE WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF
EL NINO NEXT FALL, CALIFORNIANS NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT EVEN THE
DEVELOPMENT OF A STRONG EL NINO DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN THE
DROUGHT WILL GO AWAY. THERE ARE AT LEAST A HANDFUL OF EXAMPLE
YEARS IN WHICH STRONG EL NINOS DID NOT REJUVENATE THE HYDROLOGIC
CYCLE. AND AT THIS POINT, THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER MODELS ARE
ONLY FORECASTING A MILD EL NINO SCENARIO FOR NEXT FALL---HARDLY
SOMETHING WITH WHICH WE CAN RELIABLY FIND SALVATION. AND THE
EFFECTS OF THE EL NINO SIGNAL WON`T EFFECT OUR SUMMERTIME NEEDS.

TO HELP YOU KEEP ABREAST OF DEVELOPING CONDITIONS RELEVANT TO THE
DROUGHT AND WATER SUPPLY, WE HAVE PUT TOGETHER A WEB RESOURCE THAT
WILL EVOLVE AS MORE RESOURCES BECOME AVAILABLE. YOU CAN EXPECT
MORE PUBLICITY ABOUT THIS RESOURCE AND ITS CONTENTS IN THE NEAR
FUTURE, AND IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS PLEASE DIRECT THEM TO OUR
WEBMASTER OR OUR OFFICE. HERE IS THE WEB ADDRESS:

WWW.WRH.NOAA.GOV/MTR/DROUGHTMTR.PHP



NEXT ISSUANCE DATE...

THE NEXT DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED IN RESPONSE
TO SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN CONDITIONS AND/OR CHANGES IN DROUGHT
LEVELS.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...

CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER
DROUGHT MONITOR
UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES
CALIFORNIA STATE CLIMATOLOGIST
CAL FIRE
ASSOCIATION OF CALIFORNIA WATER AGENCIES
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE S.F./MONTEREY BAY AREAS
CALIFORNIA NEVADA RIVER FORECAST CENTER
U.S. BUREAU OF RECLAMATION



QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS...

PLEASE REFER ALL QUESTIONS TO W-MTR.WEBMASTER@NOAA.GOV

$$

STRUDLEY

WEATHER.GOV/SANFRANCISCO







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