How bad is California's drought before the dry season?

Today marks the last day of the rainy season in California. December, January, and February are generally the wettest months in the Gol...

Today marks the last day of the rainy season in California.

December, January, and February are generally the wettest months in the Golden State, with 75% of the state’s annual precipitation falling between November and March.

We are now about to enter our dry season, and the drought is far from over. Governor Gavin Newsom this week, in an effort to reduce water usage, proposed banning businesses from watering their lawns. More than 93 percent of California is considered to be in severe or extreme drought.

“We are definitely at the end of our rainy season in California,” Jeanine Jones, drought manager with the California Department of Water Resources, told me. “We’re not expecting a significant amount of additional rainfall – certainly not something that would make a difference to the drought.”

Jones added: “In other words, most of what we’re going to get, we got it.”

So where are we?

All major reservoirs in California are currently at below average levels. The state’s snowpack on Wednesday was 39% of what it typically is for this time of year, according to state data. Newsom has yet to announce mandatory water cuts for Californians, but faces growing pressure to do so.

The California Water Year runs from October 1 through September 30 and is defined this way so that the winter rainy season falls within a single Water Year.

Between October and December – the start of this hydrological year – California received more precipitation than in the previous 12 months. Atmospheric rivers broken records and replenished tanks.

But then we entered 2022. January and February were the two driest start-of-the-year months on record in California, according to state officials. March is unlikely to be much better, even after the storms this week.

Whiplash is not unusual in the Golden State; we have more climate variability than any other state in the country, Jones said. And the weather has recently become even more unpredictable due to the effects of climate change.

Yet the heavy rains of late 2021 were not enough to overcome the last three exceptionally dry months.

By the end of December, the state had received 150% of the precipitation it usually receives at this time of the hydrological year. This figure has since fallen below the average – to around 70%.

Unfortunately, with the end of March and no storms on the horizon, we can say with near certainty that the California drought in 2022 will continue to worsen.

For more:

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  • Gender in catering: Many restaurants no longer greet customers as “sir” or “ma’am” but instead opt to gender neutral language.


  • Mayor of LA: Eric Garcetti’s confirmation as US Ambassador to India is increasingly in doubt due to allegations of harassment against a senior adviser, Political reports.

  • Weapon bill: A California bill requiring parents to notify school officials if they keep guns in the home failed to pass the legislature, The Associated Press reports.

  • Illegal weapons: State law enforcement seized nearly 1,500 illegal weapons in 2021, The Associated Press reports.


  • Elephant welfare: The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is rated one of the worst zoos for elephants by an international animal welfare group, The Fresno Bee Reports.

  • Kristin Smart Murder Trial: A judge on Wednesday ordered that the trial in the 1996 murder of student Kristin Smart be moved out of San Luis Obispo County, The Associated Press reports.


  • Protection against predatory sales: Enlisted military members would receive an automatic 30-day cooling-off period in California when purchasing or leasing vehicles under a new proposal, The Associated Press reports.

  • newt crossing: Volunteers work to protect the newts that cross the streets of the Petaluma Hills by the thousands, The Guardian reports.

  • School rules: A San Jose school district has been ordered by a jury to pay $102.5 million to two former students who were sexually abused by a teacher, The Associated Press reports.

  • Historic homes purchased: A single buyer bought 15 homes built on the same block in the 1920s for $10 million, The Associated Press reports.

  • Hospital under review: Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco could lose critical funding after two patients overdosed last year, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

$630,000 homes in California, Louisiana and Ohio.

A guide for western hot springs.

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Send your suggestions to We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.

We have recently been publish your notes about why you I love your corner of California.

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At least a thousand years ago, the Cahuilla Indians regularly walked a long, winding trail in the mountains above the Coachella Valley.

The trail, through a landscape of distant peaks and natural springs, was used to visit relatives in other native villages and to attend ceremonies. When important messages need to be relayed, runners cover 30-mile sections of the trail in just a few hours.

But until recently, many Cahuillas had not set foot on the ancestral road in over a century.

This month, tribal members representing Agua Caliente, the Cahuilla Indians of the Torres Martinez Desert, and the Cahuilla Indian Band of Santa Rosa hiked and camped for three days along the old trail, The Desert Sun report.

“When I walk this trail, I walk it for my family,” said Mario Alejandre, a member of the Santa Rosa tribe and the Sawish-pakiktem clan. “We walk this trail because our ancestors walked it before us. It was a sanctuary. It was paradise.

Thanks for reading. I will be back tomorrow. — Soumya

PS Here today’s mini crosswordand a clue: Shalom: Hebrew::___: Hawaiian (5 letters).

Briana Scalia and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can join the team at

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Newsrust - US Top News: How bad is California's drought before the dry season?
How bad is California's drought before the dry season?
Newsrust - US Top News
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