We ended 2017 in California with one of the driest Decembers on record. San Jose had its second driest December since records began in 1893. San Francisco had its fourth driest dating back to 1849, according to the National Weather Service in Monterey.
Despite recent rains in the news, the entire state of California is still well below average in precipitation for the season to date. California has seen less precipitation due to a ridiculously resilient high-pressure ridge that knocks all the storms away from California’s thirsty landscape. Continue reading
It’s the middle of December in what should be the wettest month of California’s rainy season. Yet windswept infernos continue to ravage the dry tinder landscape. The Santa Ana’s blow with hurricane forces whipping the flames up chaparral and ridges.
These out-of-control infernos aren’t only torching forests. The rural-urban intersection has grown, and widespread development puts more people, farms and packing houses directly in the path of destruction. The blazes are imperiling the avocado and citrus orchards, vineyards and fields of organic farms. Many are in the bulls-eye of this climatic conflagration. Continue reading
The forecasters predicted it, the young and wild boy-child, El Niño would come. A warm pacific current that often wreaks havoc promised torrential rains for the west coast of the North America continent. We believed in him like the god of water who would bestow wet blessings upon the land. California, my home for the past 39 years, has always been wet and green in the winter with golden dry hills casting the summer. These past few years, the boy went dry, and the rains ceased. 2016 was to be the year of relief, of promise, that El Niño would bring us water. If ever he forsakes us, much of California’s agriculture will be under duress. Continue reading
It rained in Northern California last week, a late season downpour after six weeks of parched, record heat conditions. This is an April gift to the thirsty soils of California, but not a drought breaker. I listened to the rare sound of heavy drops pounding on my rooftop and pondered the reality. Snowpack in the Sierras is 5% of normal, its lowest in recorded history. Groundwater tables have dropped 50% in some areas and the land is sinking, caving in under its own weight. California’s crippling drought will have far reaching affects for all of us. Continue reading
California is enduring its third consecutive year of drought and the impacts to agriculture and its economy are profound. The limited ground water and dry wells are impacting everything from the price of organic almonds to the connoisseur’s grass fed beef. In my previous blog entitled California, the House of the Rising Sun, I highlight the effects the drought is having on farmers and ranchers, and the emergency measures being implemented to conserve water and change the way we manage it. The untold story behind the headlines is the significant impact the drought has on agricultural workers and entire communities as its arid grip tightens across the land. Continue reading