Drought still going strong, forecasters report
It may have looked like rain earlier this week, but the drought is still going full blast, according to climate forecasters.
Both the west and east forks of the Carson River were at a fifth of average for the first day of summer. The East Fork is at a quarter of average in Markleeville. Carson Valley irrigators are unlikely to see water from the river after the spring runoff is done this year, according to the drought information statement issued by the National Weather Service.
What little snow is left in the Sierra won’t stand much of a chance this weekend with record high temperatures forecast beginning Friday. The high temperature is forecast to hit 99 degrees in Minden on Sunday.
The first cutting of Carson Valley hay is in various stages of harvest, with most producing fields already cut and baled.
All of Nevada’s and neighboring California counties have been designated natural drought disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with Douglas County in moderate to severe drought.
A damp May helped soften the blow of a very dry January, February and March, with 157 percent of average moisture during the month, bringing Minden to 76 percent of average for the water year so far. But the .72 inches of moisture that fell in Minden in May is far short of a typical January, and precipitation totals in the Sierra during the month didn’t contribute to the snowpack.
Drought will also contribute to fire danger, which is rated at high to very high south of a line from Lake Tahoe to Jackpot in Nevada.
“Fire danger will be especially high in timbered areas in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades in California and Nevada, where fuels have been drier than normal for two consecutive years,” the report said.
Dry weather will also stress trees, making them more susceptible to infestation, which will increase the amount of dead wood in the forest.
The long range forecast for July through September is for warmer than average conditions, with near average precipitation, forecasters said.
More seasonal temperatures are expected to return this week, hitting the high 90s by the weekend.