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California's dry water year has affected wildfire season and water storage

The water year in California runs from October 1st to September 30th. This year's water year has ended with only half of the amount of rainfall we see in a typical year which has adversely affected water storage and increased fire danger over our fire season.

Posted: Oct 6, 2020 6:44 PM

CHICO, Calif. - The water year in California runs from October 1st to September 30th. This year's water year has ended with only half of the amount of rainfall we see in a typical year which has adversely affected water resources and increased fire danger over our fire season.

The driest year ever recorded in Redding was 19.38 inches in the water year of 1990-1991. The wettest year ever recorded in Redding was 68.43 inches in the water year of 1940-1941.

Our water year ended last week and in total, throughout the who water year (2019-2020), we recorded 23.70 inches of rain. The average is 38 inches of rain, so we are well below the average for rainfall. In fact we were only 4.32 inches away from being the driest water year on record. Whereas we were 68.43 inches away from reaching the wettest year on record. The dry year we see is clear when breaking down these numbers. Almost our entire region was in a large rain deficit and most areas were 40-60% of average rainfall.

The dry water year contributed greatly to fire danger. With little rain, fuel moisture has been allowed to drop to near record minuimums. This means grass, shrubs and tress are tinder and ready to burn.

Water resources have also been reduced due to a dry water year.

Groundwater levels have been reduced by more than 5 feet across our region over our water year. This could have impacts on many in the area who rely on wells, but the impacts will not be major since the drop in groundwater has not been drastic, but gradual.

Most major reservoirs are also now about 75-80% of average levels. This is not an immediate concern but something that should be watched. If we see another dry water ryear, then water resources could become more strained and restricted.

Click these links for more:

California's Official 2019-2020 Water Year Summary

California's Most Significant Droughts: Comparing Historical and Recent Conditions (in-depth)

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 923648

Reported Deaths: 17559
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles3050707044
Riverside675521306
San Bernardino641311073
Orange594421468
San Diego55898885
Kern34114420
Fresno31195439
Sacramento25882499
Santa Clara24665404
Alameda23636463
San Joaquin21988492
Contra Costa18877243
Stanislaus17814400
Tulare17730291
Ventura14409166
Imperial13023338
San Francisco12277145
Monterey1153892
San Mateo11278159
Santa Barbara9886126
Sonoma9601136
Merced9588155
Kings848683
Solano758676
Marin7107127
Madera506676
Placer429059
San Luis Obispo424032
Yolo325060
Butte313453
Santa Cruz284825
Shasta199931
Napa199816
Sutter188912
San Benito144915
El Dorado13684
Yuba133810
Mendocino115421
Tehama9219
Lassen7711
Lake70216
Glenn6793
Nevada6328
Humboldt56910
Colusa5536
Calaveras34721
Amador33716
Tuolumne2855
Inyo24015
Siskiyou2140
Mono1822
Del Norte1801
Mariposa812
Plumas760
Modoc450
Trinity280
Sierra60
Alpine40
Unassigned00
Chico
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Oroville
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We're closing out the month of October on a beautiful note weather-wise over northern California with plenty of sunshine and above-average temperatures. Halloween will bring slightly warmer temperatures and more sunshine.
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