May 9, 2013 2:14 PM by Dave Hovde and Greg Murphy

Despite rain this week Central Coast drought conditions worsen

Despite a tenth to two-tenths of rain earlier this week the new drought assessment from the U.S. Drought monitor released today is bleak for the Central Coast.

There was a worsening in the classification of the local drought. Almost all of both counties went from D1/moderate drought to D2/severe drought from that hot spell last week. That mean the drought is not only a short term problem but also long term.

The following is a breakdown from weather blogger and fellow drought watcher Greg Murphy:

The NW corner of SLO County was the last bit of local D0/abnormally dry. It is now D1 making the entirety of both counties under drought conditions. The border is just west of Cayucos.

The SE corner of Santa Barbara County was the only local part that was unchanged, still D1. The border is roughly the Goleta-Santa Barbara border.

The last time the entirety of both counties was under drought conditions was fairly recent, November 27, 2012.

I'd call today's report having the worst local conditions since the Oct. 13, 2009 report. SLO County was the same as now. Santa Barbara County was fully D2.

California's large D0 area went D1 today. The only area left without drought conditions is along the Colorado River. California jumped from 64.30% to 98.16% having drought conditions.

The last time California had this much D2-or-worse was April 10, 2012.

The last time California had this much D1-or-worse was Sept. 2, 2008.

Central Coast soil moisture is the driest-to-normal in the 48 states.

Outlook maps http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

State of the climate didn't update, probably the middle of next week. There are always these maps, updated at noon. http://www.calclim.dri.edu/anommaps.html

From the Drought Monitor summary: "Except for widely-scattered light showers late in the period, much of the West saw no precipitation while experiencing above normal temperatures. The late period change of weather, however, was beneficial to wildfire fighters as higher humidity, lower winds, and scattered showers aided the fight to contain the large Spring blaze in the southern California coastal mountains.

After a good start to the 2012-13 wet season (November and December were very wet), the January through April period was the complete opposite. In fact, the January-April precipitation percentiles were the driest on record in parts of western Oregon, most of northern and central California, northwestern Nevada, and parts of southwestern Montana, according to the WRCC.

With the early good start to the West wet season largely forgotten with four consecutive months of very dry weather and declining basin average precipitation and snow water content values, Northern California was degraded by one category, from D0 to D1, while central California was increased from D1 to D2. Losses in rangeland grasses and pastures have been reported in California, with herds being moved to irrigated pastures.

Areas in southern California that received light showers late in the period were left at D1 for now. In the Sierra Nevada basins, water year average precipitation ranged from 72 to 81 percent of normal, while the May 6 SWE was at 0 to 45 percent."



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