California Facing Driest Year on Record

Lack of snow not a problem, water manager says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2012 6:06 AM CST
California Facing Driest Year on Record
The Sierra Nevada mountains have seen a fraction of their usual snowfall.   (AP Photo/Mike Tyler)

The snow that provides around a third of California's water has largely gone AWOL this year, and with rain also noticeably scant, experts believe the state may be about to experience its driest year since records began. The temperature pattern known as La Niña, combined with a strong atmospheric barrier keeping Arctic air away, is likely to keep the state warm and dry in the months to come, a Pasadena climatologist tells MSNBC.

But while the dry weather may make for a hellish wildfire season, the state won't be going thirsty, according to the manager of the Metropolitan Water District of southern California. Last year's wet weather left California with plenty of water, he says, and even if this does prove to be its driest year ever, there is enough stored to see the state through "three tough years in a row." (More California stories.)

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