Locals hoping to avoid another drier-than-normal wet season may be disappointed next year, as researchers forecast mostly dry conditions throughout most of California.
Each year, the Department of Water Resources assembles analysts to create an experimental winter forecast that predicts seasonal water supply, according to a Nov. 27 press release.
For water year 2014, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, scientists have predicted mostly dry conditions based on data that considers global influences on the state’s climate, DWR reported.
According to the statement, the forecast for the 2014 water year is “of particular interest” because the previous two years have experienced relatively dry conditions.
“My forecast last year for dry conditions in water year 2013 seemed destined for failure at first, since California experienced record wet conditions in late November/early December…” stated Dr. Klaus Wolter, a meteorologist and researcher, in the press release. “However, the remainder of the season was record dry, producing an overall result of dry for the water year.”
In the past 15 years, South Lake Tahoe has received an average of 15 inches of water during the November to April months, said Jim Wallmann, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
However, drier-than-normal conditions led to an average of 10.3 inches of water in 2012 and 12.59 inches in 2013, and they can have a number of impacts on the Lake Tahoe area, he said. Among them are higher-than-normal fire dangers.
“We can also obviously see lake water levels and reservoir levels dropping,” he said, “and there’s also an impact on water supply, possibly.”
The possibility of those impacts being mitigated by another mostly dry winter is unlikely, Wallmann added.
“If we had another dry winter in Tahoe,” he said, “the impact that we’ve seen in the last couple years would probably be worse.”