The state of California is hot, following a heat wave and drought which have recently parched the Golden State. Not only is California starting its fourth consecutive year in a drought, but Californians are feeling the effect of triple-digit temperatures in October. ABC News reported a high-pressure system and Santa Ana winds were bringing dry and hot conditions.
ABC News stated downtown Los Angeles had reached around 95 degrees Fahrenheit by midday. San Francisco, which usually sees moderate temperatures at this time of season, was reportedly in the 90 degree level as well. Inland temperatures in California were more severe, hitting over 100 degrees. A popular theme park known as Raging Waters, which is located in San Dimas, had extended their seasonal operations for nearby residents in order to provide relief from the sweltering heat.
Red-flag warnings and heat advisories were in effect until Saturday night for parts of California, according to the National Weather Service. ABC News stated the U.S. Forest Service had provided 24-hour firefighter staff due to critical wildfire conditions. The state usually experiences Santa Ana conditions in October, with possible brush fires able to spread quickly since conditions exert zero humidity and winds from the east.
Meanwhile, Huffington Post reported California is now entering its fourth year in a drought among a “rare autumn heat wave.” Lydia O’Connor stated NASA had released satellite images of the state in three yearly phases, including as far back as 2002. The images show the severity of the drought, which O’Connor stated “would take 150 percent of the normal precipitation” in order to stop.
USA Today stated California is in a historic drought, and as of Thursday, Oct. 2, 100 percent of the state was in it, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Almost 60 percent of the state is reportedly in an “exceptional” drought, which USA Today stated was the worst level. In fact, the images released by NASA showed California in moderate drought conditions in 2002, in more severe conditions in 2008, and in extreme conditions for the current year. All the images had been taken some time between April and June.
USA Today also reported the state’s capital, Sacramento and the San Joaquin River basins have suffered the biggest loss, most likely because of “increased groundwater pumping.” This may have been due, in-part, to supporting agriculture. USA Today stated that since 2011, river basins may have lost about four trillion gallons of water per year for agricultural needs, which is reportedly more than residents use in various cities and homes per year.
Governor Jerry Brown had declared a statewide emergency earlier this year due to such severe drought conditions. USA Today stated as of Thursday, reservoir levels continue to fall and were down to around 52 percent of the “historical average.” Strict regulations were also put into place for Golden State residents in order to decrease unnecessary use, with fines of up to $500 if residents were found wasting water.
With California in exceptional drought conditions and heat-wave situations, residents must find ways to keep cool without wasting water. The severity of the situation appears to be increasing, given the state is now entering its fourth consecutive year of drought with the entire state under such conditions. Though the Huffington Post reported that state climatologist, Mike Anderson had told KQED, a media outlet based in California, an El Nino system may bring some relief, experts had reportedly predicted it may bring no relief at all.
By Liz Pimentel
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