Here in Northern California, we've had a rainfall this winter of a fraction of inch. That's it. In the East Bay hills, east of San Francisco, we're actually under severe fire warnings due to the lack of precipitation and unusually warm weather.
You know what that means? Major drought restrictions this year...and it's only January:
Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday his administration would soon declare that California is officially in the midst of a drought.
A recent survey of the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains found the state’s water reserves are at just 20% of normal levels. Other measures have declared 2013 to be the driest year in California history.
“It’s really serious,” Brown said. “In many ways it’s a mega-drought; it’s been going on for a number of years.”
Now, I'm sure there are some East Coast denizens still thawing out from the polar vortex who think this is karma for us Californians who were still wearing flip-flops at Christmas, but think again how this is going to impact agriculture and the resulting cost of food nationwide. Not only in direct costs of food and livestock, with smaller yields and higher farming costs, but also in related industries: textiles, wood and paper products, restaurants, grocery stores and even liquor, since California's wine industry is also being impacted. (Sonoma County is now trying to make the industry entirely sustainable, on a related note), as well as employment in all of those industries being threatened.
Buckle your seatbelts, it's gonna be a bumpy year.