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Sacramento Breaks Record Set in the 1880's

Sacramento Breaks Record Set in the 1880's

It's an unwelcome record.  We're about to go 47 days without rain, in the "rainy" season, and the term, "rare" doesn't really seem to cut it.

Johnny Powell is with the National Weather Service in Sacramento and he says this is now the driest period we've had since 1884.  He and his team plug away at their forecast models each and every day, but for those waiting for the rain to fall, it's to no avail.  At this point he sees dry weather until February.

"We have satellites in the sky, we have rain gauges all over the state, we have wind sensors," Powell said, and they're coming up short.

All that technology is being used to track fire danger.  He says the Red Flag Warning program isn't usually in effect in January, but right now, it's a focus.

Even though the record broken dates back to the 1880s, a Northern California scientist says it hasn't been this dry in centuries.

Would you believe 500 hundred years?  At least that's what Berkeley paleoclimatologist B. Lynn Ingram believes may be the case.  Ingram studies fossils, tree rings, rocks and soil to get an idea of what the climate was like going back 10-20,000 years.  She's suggesting California hasn't been through a drought like this since the late 1500s.

"It's important to understand our climate history and know when were the droughts and also the years we had extreme floods," Ingram said.

She told KPIX TV that what's worse is the possibility we could be in for even bigger droughts in the future if the past is any indicator.  She points a Western European drought which lasted a century.

That's one thing lawmakers on both sides of the aisle can agree on, addressing our drought.

Governor Brown touched on a few separate drought issues during his State of the State, and Assembly Speaker John Perez says a new water bond could solve all of them.

"Environmental mitigation, groundwater and surface storage, and access to quality water," Perez said.

The question though is whether one would pass or not.  An $11 billion bond was pulled over voter concerns it contained too many pet projects.

"I'm hoping that they can reopen that and cut some of the pork out and we could take it to the people for a vote," said Republican Senator Ted Gaines.

Some Republicans want to ease endangered species standards to send more Delta water to farms.  The Senator added that for the time being, think conservation.

That's the path Elk Grove is taking in the meantime.  Falling in line with other cities in the Sacramento area, Elk Grove officials are now asking people to cutback on their water use by 20%.  

They say the city's water supply is sufficient to meet current demands and the call for conservation is just part of an overall plan to ensure water is available in the region.  Elk Grove pumps water from the ground and gets even more from Sacramento County.

 

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