California should expect a ‘fourth dry year’ as drought persists through the summer months, and even the potential for a wet winter
California experienced the sixth driest year on record in 2016, according to the US Drought Monitor. This record-breaking drought is in large part due to persistent drought conditions throughout the summer and fall months.
The current record drought follows drought periods from 2007 -08 and 2009 -10, which were the first and third consecutive years of significant drought on a statewide basis in California, according to data provided by the US Drought Monitor.
The US Drought Monitor uses a composite measure of key indicators to assess the severity of drought conditions. It rates each state on a five-point scale (0 – 4). Drought conditions in California last occurred in 2015, when it was rated at 3.1.
California currently has the fourth driest year on record, according to the US Drought Monitor. This drought began in August 2015 and ended in October 2016.
A map of the current drought in California. Map created by US Drought Monitor using data from the US Drought Monitor, and data from the Climate Prediction Center. Image: US Drought Monitor.
This year’s drought was especially unusual because of the intensity and length of dry conditions, according to US Drought Monitor. This year saw statewide dryness in the summer through fall that was 10% above average in some areas, and as much as 40% above average in parts of California including northern and central California, according to the US Drought Monitor.
Dry conditions have persisted for the duration of the current drought, according to the US Drought Monitor.
This persistent dryness is expected to continue through most of the season and into the winter in California, according to the US Drought Monitor.
This is expected to continue for California’s winter in 2017, when winter precipitation is already more than 50% below average across the entire state. This