Drought spreads into Sacramento Valley
The National Drought Monitor extended its “abnormally dry” classification into western Butte County in its weekly update Thursday.
That’s nearly double the area from the start of the year.
Another 39 percent of the state is experiencing “moderate drought.” The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
But the National Weather Service is also saying the state is in a drought, although it specifies it’s a “little d drought” rather than a “Big D Drought.” A little d drought is when it isn’t raining, snowpack is low and streams and rivers are down.
“Big D drought is more of a political term where impacts like water shortages, agricultural loss, livestock sell off, economic/tourism impacts etc.
The update highlighted things like the roller coaster rainfall season we’ve experienced: October was dry, November was very wet, December was dry and January was pretty wet.
February has been dry — and unusually warm — so far, and that situation looks like it will last at least another 10 days.
The snowpack has also been subpar, and is just 23 percent of normal.
That’s the third driest on record, according to the weather service.
Steve Schoonover is the city editor of the Enterprise-Record and Oroville Mercury-Register.