After six-plus years of historic drought, Governor Edmund G. Brown rescinded the state of emergency order, excluding four counties, in the wake of one of the wettest winters in state history. Only Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne counties remain in a drought emergency.
The drought is effectively over, though one of the fallouts from sustained dry conditions are recognizable in various counties throughout California. Tree mortality, resulting from unprecedented drought and subsequent bark beetle infestations, has stripped California forests of more than 100 million trees.
The mortality data is based on the U.S. Forest Service Aerial Detection Survey flown across all forested lands of the state each year. The Forest Service has already treated 30,000 acres of dead trees, with more to come.
The estimated number of dead trees in California from 2010 to 2016 … continue reading »
On Friday, April 7, 2017, Governor Edmund G. Brown issued an executive order ending the drought emergency in all but a few California counties. This came about 27 months after he declared a state of drought emergency for California on January 17, 2014. At that point, the state was headed into its fourth straight year of drought. Private wells were drying up, trees were dying, as was ground water. It was going to take the combined efforts of all Californians to change the way we behaved to save our water, and make sure we had enough for tomorrow. It was also going to take an unprecedented level of cooperation and leadership from local, state, federal, private and non-governmental agencies to respond effectively to the mounting problems resulting from the drought, and change the direction California … continue reading »
Following unprecedented water conservation and plentiful winter rain and snow, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today ended the drought state of emergency in most of California, while maintaining water reporting requirements and prohibitions on wasteful practices, such as watering during or right after rainfall.
“This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,” said Governor Brown. “Conservation must remain a way of life.”
Executive Order B-40-17 lifts the drought emergency in all California counties except Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne, where emergency drinking water projects will continue to help address diminished groundwater supplies. Today’s order also rescinds two emergency proclamations from January and April 2014 and four drought–related executive orders issued in 2014 and 2015.
Executive Order B-40-17 … continue reading »
Californians changed their habits and attitudes about water conservation and use over the last three years. They succeeded in a challenge to meet a tough but attainable goal of a reduction of water usage by 20% statewide. And Mother Nature came through at the 11th hour when we were all planning on a full sixth consecutive year of drought.
The big take away from the graphic below is that, as of March, 2017, nearly 77% of the state is not in any drought category. How about that? Further analysis of the graphic shows that none of California is in the Extreme or Exceptional Drought categories. Only one percent is in the Severe drought category, eight percent in Moderate Drought, 23% is shown to be Abnormally Dry. The changing colors (or lack-thereof) are as lovely as those … continue reading »
Construction on a new auxiliary spillway at the Folsom Dam is expected to be completed later this year. The auxiliary spillway, which includes a 1,100-foot-long approach channel that will funnel the water from the lake into the spillway, is fitted as a complimentary resource to Folsom Dam’s main functions, allowing water to be released earlier and more safely from Folsom Lake, if needed.
Other auxiliary spillway features, according to the United States Army Corps of Engineers, include: a control structure with six submerged gates that will be controlled in coordination with the gates on the main dam to control water releases; a 3,027-foot-long spillway chute that transports the water from the control structure to the American River below; and a stilling basin that will slow the racing water back to normal flow levels that the … continue reading »
Folsom Dam is an important part of California’s flood protection system. Due to the abundance of storms in Northern California this year, the floodgates on the dam have been opened periodically to release water from Folsom Lake, allowing storm runoff to safely flow into the lake without flood danger to communities downstream.
Water flowing freely from the Folsom Dam has been a rare sight throughout the state’s historic six-year drought. During that time, water was primarily released because of the consistent demand of supply.
Just as with the drought, those same floodgates are also opened during significant storms, similar to what California has experienced the past month. Due to its small size, the Folsom Reservoir fills quickly and also empties just as fast.
If not for the … continue reading »
The calm is here before yet another storm is upon us. After heavy rain and snow ushered in 2017 earlier this week, the National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting that an additional significant storm is on the horizon for California beginning as early as Tuesday.
“We’re looking at another atmospheric river storm for Tuesday and Wednesday of next week,” said NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Michelle Mead. “We have dry/sunny weather from now, Friday, January 13, through Tuesday, January 17. This will be time for high running river and creeks to recede and for the ground to soak up some of the standing water that is around.”
Some areas received heavy precipitation throughout a seven-day observation period. Soda Springs recorded between 21-22 inches of precipitation, followed by … continue reading »
With the calendar flipping to 2017, those pesky New Year’s Resolutions once again become a priority. Whether it’s making plans to regularly attend the gym, eat healthier or other timely concessions, there may be one resolution that is often overlooked.
The importance of being prepared for emergencies or natural disasters is always paramount.
Living in California provides unmatched accommodations and beauty, but it’s also prone to the constant threat of disasters, such as earthquakes, flooding and wildfires.
To assist in your New Year’s Resolutions, here are some emergency preparedness tips for these five specific disasters:
- Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
- Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
- If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground.
- If floodwaters rise around your car but … continue reading »
With New Year’s Day rapidly approaching, the final days of the calendar year present the ideal opportunity to reminisce about 2016. From wildfires to a national-captivating gas leak, as well as the state’s prolonged historic drought, it was another eventful year for Californians.
And Cal OES was there to document it all.
Below is a list of 10 memorable stories, grabbed directly from our blog on relevant news and public-safety reminders, from 2016:
Tests Confirm Aliso Canyon Gas Leak Permanently Sealed
Original date: Feb. 18, 2016
On Feb. 18, state regulators confirmed the natural gas leaking well at the Aliso Canyon storage field near Los Angeles has been permanently sealed.
Search and Rescue Coordinators Learn Life-Saving Techniques in Sierras
Original date: Feb. 25, 2016
On Feb. 2, occasional heavy snow greeted … continue reading »
Winter storms can often create havoc around the holidays, especially when traveling. But, as California’s historic drought extends into a sixth year, the state is in dire need of more rain and snow, and plenty of it.
Sometimes, though, an abundance of precipitation can initiate devastating consequences.
California is susceptible to flooding, and even more so now after destructive wildfires left many areas in Northern and Southern California with dramatic burn-scarred hills. Because it could take many years for vegetation to become reestablished, a substantial amount of rain over an extended period creates elevated risks for flash flooding and debris flows. Most of these burn areas will be prone to this activity for at least two years.
Thunderstorms that develop over the burned areas may begin to produce flash flooding and debris flows before a warning can be … continue reading »