By Brian Melley for AP News
California’s hopes for a wet “March miracle” did not materialize and a dousing of April showers may as well be a mirage at this point.
The state appears in the midst of another drought only a few years after a punishing 5-year dry spell dried up rural wells, killed endangered salmon, idled farm fields and helped fuel the most deadly and destructive wildfires in modern state history.
“We’re looking at the second dry year in a row. In California that pretty much means we have a drought,” said Jay Lund, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of California, Davis.
In fact, the entire West is gripped in what scientists consider a “megadrought” that started in 1999 and has been interrupted by only occasional years with above-average precipitation. In California, the heaviest rain and snow comes in the winter months, but not this year — about 90% of the state already is experiencing drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.