There is an interesting article in today’s Herald about California’s drought. It has broken scores of 160-year-old records. You can find the whole article here: ridiculously resilient ridge

Here are just a few quotes.

“…meteorologists have fixed their attention on the scientific phenomenon they say is to blame for the emerging drought: a vast zone of high pressure in the atmosphere off the West Coast, nearly four miles high and 2,000 miles long, so stubborn that one researcher has dubbed it the ‘Ridiculously Resilient Ridge.'”

“The current high-pressure ridge is even stronger and more persistent than a similar ridge that parked over the Pacific Ocean during the 1976-77 drought, one of the driest in the 20th century.”

“Last year was the driest calendar year in recorded history in California in most cities, with records going back 160 years. The first snowpack reading in the Sierra Nevada earlier this month found a snowpack of just 20 percent of normal.”

The Herald article took me to a California weather blog that is full of interesting information, weather blog including this graphic of the high pressure ridge that parked itself over the Pacific Ocean last year and the first month of this year.


Don’t get me wrong, this weather is better than summer – no bugs! BUT … and this is a big BUT … I am a native Californian, and I reach SS age this year. I’ve seen a lot of California weather. Nothing like this. I have foregone planting new bare root fruit trees and roses. I am debating a vegetable garden this year. My spring is still producing well, but if all the aquifers that must feed it are at 20% of normal, how can my spring be far behind?

8 thoughts on “Drought

  1. There must be something else at play in all this. Indeed, reading your post and the article, I thought the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge must be referring to the indominatable life force of the Central Coast, its ups and downs on ground level not sky. I look around me and dry yes, and not bright winter watered green but no dust bowl either. It’s no secret when rain falls, brings out the dancers. It can’t be raining behind our backs. So why, in this historic muddle, are we not panting, and watching desperate wildlife tongues aglae, reports of mountain lions coming in closer for water, dehydrated birds dropping from the sky and squirrels from the tree tops…..

  2. Fuel moisture levels will be very low, maybe as low as levels seen in 2008. We flew over the Sierras this weekend and it looks like mid April in the high country.

  3. I believe that Ridge extends up here to Oregon. I’ve been reading we’ve broken records for low rainfall totals for last year.

  4. The worst is yet to come if we don’t get a decent amount of rain soon. Be on the lookout for those thirsty cougars.

  5. The deer have moved into our place for the juicy leaves of the remaining plants and a bear has made its appearance 3 xs in the last 6 months. Migrating birds are flying into windows more so maybe that’s because they’re dehydrated and their sight is off, who knows! But the critters are definitely feeling the effects of a drought.

  6. I was living in Monterey in the drought of ’76-’77.
    We still kept up the vege garden, but we heavily mulched each plant.
    Then, we carried the bath water and dish water out to the plants in buckets.
    You kind of get used to it.
    New Zealand spinach did great, just steam it, add some lemon juice and butter.

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