Sunday, January 19, 2014

Region update - California

It's often dry in California's Central Valley, a massive region with agriculture that provides a large portion of food for the USA, but we're apparently in the middle of something special.  Usually around this time of year we'd be donning a light water-proof jacket or carrying an umbrella (you never need to wrap up against the cold). Instead, Governor Jerry Brown just declared a drought emergency.,0,3244744.story#axzz2qt9Q6PM7

The unwatered lawns around town are brown, instead of the usual January green.  Daffodils are emerging in my garden, and the air has it's usual summer haze; just the wrong time of year.  With reports of snowpack at ~20% of normal (snowpack usually provides ~2/3rds of the State's water) and indications that much farmland will be left fallow, it sounds like the start of a tough year.

If you've watched Ken Burn's "The Dust Bowl" recently, as I did the last two nights, or read Timothy Egan's "The Worst Hard Time" (New York Times Review), this isn't anything like that yet, but you'll understand why there might be a tangible air of pessimism.

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