Santa Maria Lifestyle

Record Drought On The Central Coast

December 3rd, 2013 Written by Cliff Collipriest

Record Drought

As I think almost everyone is aware  the Central Coast is experiencing a severe, record breaking drought.  I came across a news article that points this out graphically.  Normally meteorologists measure the rainy season from July 1 to June 30.  This past 2012/2013 winter season was already the driest year on record since they started keeping records back around 1870 or so.

The new article, as you can see, is looking at the calendar year and so far 2013 is the driest year on record with just under a month left in the year.  This follows 2012 which, while not near a record low, was an extremely dry year.  In the full article the author posted a link to a blog by Daniel Swain,  a PhD candidate in the Department of Environmental Earth System Science at Stanford University.   For those interested Daniel’s blog has detailed information about the current weather patterns and discusses the causes of our current pattern that has lasted at least a year.

One of the impacts the drought is having is drying up the ground water supply.  Homeowners in rural areas like Nipomo and Arroyo Grande have seen their wells run dry and are having to have water trucked in or they are having to drill new and deeper wells.  You can see water well drillers almost everywhere including the farm fields around Santa Maria/Orcutt.  This is great for drilling companies but devastating to property owners.  In areas like Atascadero and Arroyo Grande where the explosion of vineyards and other farming has resulted in massive ground water pumping there are now some moves to stop or delay new vineyards from being planted.

Overall, there does not appear to any major changes expected in our weather pattern this year, except, there are indications that a shift might occur around mid-December that could help bring much needed rain to the parched Central Coast.  NOAA (National Oceanographic and Weather Administration), aka the National Weather Service is hinting at a possible change as well.  It is too early to tell if this pattern change will really occur and if it does how long it could last.

I will update you over the next couple of weeks.

Update 12-3-13

This is NOAA’s current 10-14 day rain forecast model.  There could be a changing coming!

8-14 day rain forecast

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