Sadly, what we have in California is not a drought; it’s normal

Droughts are deviations from the norm. What we have now is no deviation. It is the norm itself.



June 17, 2021 - 9:58 AM

Sunset obscured by smoke-filled skies where Sequoia trees had grown on this Sierra Nevada ridgetop for well over 500 years. Giant Sequoia National Monument on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Springville, California. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California declared a drought emergency last month in Sonoma and Mendocino counties because of severe drop-offs in the winter rains that once had been counted on to fill reservoirs in the Russian River watershed, north of the San Francisco Bay Area. Like most other California reservoirs, those human-made lakes were built in the 20th century, an unusually wet period when compared with more than a thousand years of climate records reconstructed from studies of ancient tree rings and geological evidence.

The two formerly verdant counties were among the state’s hardest-hit regions in last year’s record-setting wildfire season…

Average out the sporadic flood years with the succession of dry ones and the numbers will tell you that California is getting as much precipitation as ever. There is no drought — not if drought means a decrease in total rainfall.

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