Don’t look now…

California is currently experiencing a very dry month of December, scarcely eight months after Governor Jerry Brown officially announced the end of perhaps the worst drought in California history.

Snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevadas are down to 37 percent of normal, and about one third of California is experiencing dry conditions, especially in the southern part of the state.  Wildfires have destroyed nearly 500,000 acres in southern California and caused over $10 billion in damages.  And there is no rain or snow in the immediate National Weather Service forecast.

Experts say it is still to early to panic, as the news is not all bleak.  Northern California is actually in pretty good shape as we speak, with average precipitation conditions for the year and reservoirs at close to normal levels.

Yet there is cause for concern.  According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, long-term forecasts indicate a La Nina effect this winter.  This means the distinct possibility of “below-median precipitation across the southern tier of the United States.”

Published by

Mark Kanazawa

I am Wadsworth A. Williams Professor of Economics at Carleton College, Northfield, MN