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Fire danger rises as California remains dry: Drought reborn?

The Weather Network logo The Weather Network 2/11/2018 The Weather Network: News
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February is typically one of the wettest months in California, with Los Angeles collecting an average of 3.8 inches and San Francisco 4.45 inches. Los Angeles actually receives 25% of its annual precipitation in February, but a third of the way into the month, things aren't exactly going as one would expect. Neither of the two major California cities have seen a drop of rain as of February 9th, and it doesn't look like there is much help on the way in the near future. Below is a closer look at why.

Dry warm weather continues to dominate across much of California this winter. Precipitation is nowhere to be seen this February, and Spring-like weather conditions are causing a considerable amount of snowmelt in the Sierra Nevada's especially below the 8000 ft mark. This anomalous weather scenario actually extends beyond California well into a large area of the southwestern U.S. where the drought is even more dramatic.

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The weather pattern in coming weeks not exactly a wet one

A solid high pressure ridge is expected to continue dominating the weather pattern across much of the west including California, although there is some indication in the long range models that we may see some showers working their way into the coast starting next week.

a close up of a map © Provided by Pelmorex Media Inc.

While models hint at some light precipitation for the LA Basin northward, at the moemnt, they suggest heavier rains may be deflected south, heading into extreme Southern California and Mexico. This is a feature we'll be watching as we head into next week, since the exact track of the low expected to develop off of Baja California has yet to be determined.

One reason for the ongoingn dry pattern, is that the Madden-Julien Oscillation (MJO), a Pacific eastward moving disturbance of clouds, rain and winds, is in the opposite phase of what many Californians would like. It is currently in a phase that does not show any symptom of changing, favoring the presence of a potent high pressure ridge over the west coast, with little precipitation and above normal temperatures for much of California.

 RELATED: Rocky Mountain Drought Another Problem for Southern California Water Supply a close up of a map © Provided by Pelmorex Media Inc.

Despite the MJO mode forecasted, some areas of California will still receive some precipitation. However, the general weather scenario across the state will most likely be one marked by dry weather and higher than normal temperatures.  

a close up of a map © Provided by Pelmorex Media Inc.

But this dry warm pattern is not only California bound, many other areas of the West Coast will experience similar conditions during at least the next week or two. The driest weather is likely to extend from coastal Washington and Oregon, into northern California. Negative precipitation anomalies will also reach inland areas towards the Rockies, although precipitation values should not be as low compared to what is in store along coastal areas over the next 10 days.

The Drought Monitor Map is turning browner week after week, and at this point, moderate to severe drought is already affecting areas of Southern California.

a close up of a map © Provided by Pelmorex Media Inc.

Unfortunately, it is very likely that by the end of February the map will be covered with more brown shades, meaning a greater drought scenario over a larger area of the state.

Fire danger rises as California remains dry: Drought reborn? © The Weather Network: News Fire danger rises as California remains dry: Drought reborn?
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