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It will take more than rain to end drought in Western U.S. – Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada 2021-10-22 02:55:00 –

Press Democratic Party via Kent Porter / AP

In this April 21, 2021 file photo, California Governor Gavin Christopher announced that he would hold a press conference in the dry basin of Lake Mendocino in Ukiah, California, proclaiming a drought emergency in Mendocino and Sonoma counties. bottom. Much of California has been hit by the first heavy rains of the season this week. However, Governor Gavin Christopher did not stop spreading the drought emergency declaration throughout the state and granting regulators permission to enforce mandatory water restrictions.

Sacramento, CA — This week, Californians were delighted when the first large drops of water began to fall from the sky in a measurable way since spring. This is the annual flooding that marks the beginning of the rainy season following some of the hottest and driest months. On record.

But when it began to rain on Tuesday night, Governor Gavin Christopher did something strange. State-wide drought emergency If the regulator chooses, it has given permission to enact mandatory water restrictions throughout the state.

Newsome’s orders may seem jarring, especially as forecasters predict that it could rain up to 7 inches (18 centimeters) in the mountains of Northern California and parts of the Central Valley this week. not. But experts say it makes sense to think of drought as being caused by climate change rather than weather.

For decades, California relied on winter rain and snow to fill the state’s major rivers and streams, watering large lake systems that store water for drinking water, agriculture and energy production. Has been supplied. However, the annual runoff from the mountains is low. This is mainly due to the fact that it is hot and dry, not just because it rains less.

In the spring, California’s snow cover in the Sierra Nevada Mountains was 60% of its historic average. However, the amount of water that reached the reservoir was similar to 2015, when snow cover was only 5% of the historical average. Almost all water state officials expected this year to evaporate into hotter air or be absorbed into drier soils. It is dynamically deployed throughout the dry western United States.

Justin Mankin, a professor of geography at Dartmouth College and co-leader of the drought, said: US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Task Force. “Warm air evaporates more water from the surface and (and) reduces the amount of water available for other uses such as humans, hydropower and crop cultivation.”

The storm is expected to last in Northern California until early next week, including moderate to heavy rainfall with snow at higher altitudes. Rain helped contain some of the country’s largest wildfires this year, including a fire that threatened the Lake Tahoe resort area this summer.Authorities said Wednesday night, the fire Now 100% included After the storm covered the west side of the flame with snow, it rained to the east side.

The state expects so much snow that the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area near Yosemite National Park has announced that it will open in the first half of two weeks on October 29th. But the amount of snow and rain is just one drop in a bucket of California’s changing climate. ..

California’s “Water Year” lasts from October 1st to September 30th. The just-finished 2021 water year was the second driest year on record. The one before that was the fifth dryest on record. Some of the state’s most important reservoirs are at record low levels.Things are so bad Lake Mendocino The state officials say it could dry out by next summer.

Even if California rains and snows above average this winter, rising temperatures are likely not enough to make up for all the water that California has lost. .. Last year, California recorded the warmest monthly average temperature ever in the state as a whole in June, July and October 2020.

Jeanine Jones, an interstate resource manager at the California Department of Water Resources, said the drought “should not be considered an occasional accident.”

“As we are really moving to a drying system, as you know, drying becomes a new standard. Drought is not a short-term feature. Drought takes a long time to develop and is usually quite long. It will remain for a while. “

Water regulators already Commanded some peasants Other large users to stop taking water from the state’s major rivers and streams. Second, there are water restrictions that are mandatory for the general public.

In July, Newsome urged people to voluntarily reduce water usage by 15%. In July and August, people cut 3.5%. On Tuesday, Newsome enforced restrictions on state regulators, including prohibiting people from washing cars, using water to clean sidewalks and driveways, and burying decorative fountains. Issued a presidential order granting permission to impose.

State authorities Warned Water Services Bureau At least initially, water may not be available from the state’s reservoir this year. Dave Egerton, Managing Director of the California Water Organization Association, said this was very difficult.

But he said Californians believe they will soon begin to conserve more water with the help of state-wide conservation campaigns that put messages on digital signage along busy highways.

“It will happen,” he said. “People are starting to receive messages and they want to play their part.”

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