2020 weather watch: Deepening drought and the worst wildfire season ever

2020 weather watch
After an unprecedented year of wildfire and smoke events, what do we do in California when rainfall clears the air and moistens the landscape? Why CALFIRE declares a burn day as we begin preparations for the next fire season which is already rapidly approaching.

2020: Unprecedented warm weather mostly made matters worse

In 2020, California endured its worst wildfire season on record by a huge margin, in the midst of a pandemic that grew more severe in the waning days of a horrific year. Dozens of Californians died in the fires, while thousands lost their homes; over a million were evacuated forced to flee the fire danger. Nearly all of California’s 40 million residents suffered through unprecedented smoke events. 

So some might preface their Happy New Year with good riddance. But hope springs eternal and the first seven to 10 days of 2021 might turn things around or not. When forecasters first saw all that moisture lining up in the equatorial Pacific last week it looked like an atmospheric river aimed right at California. 2020 weather watch

But now that 2021 is here, that extreme wet event is being described more hit or miss for California anywhere south of the Bay area. That’s pretty much the case for Kaweah Country and lately we’re experiencing the miss more often than the hit. Three years ago in the 2018-19 season was a hit as Three Rivers checked in with upwards of 22 inches of precipitation and a better than average April 1 snow pack albeit a bit late and a bit high. 2020 weather watch

Last year (2019-20 season) featured a paltry snow pack with a below normal season total of 13.80 inches of rainfall in Three Rivers at 1,000 feet. This year (2020-21 season) is beginning to look a lot like last year. On December 31, 2020 Three Rivers had experienced two rainfall events that dropped 1.89 inches; this year a couple of rain events have produced 1.94 inches at 1,000 feet and slightly more for the higher elevations. 2020 weather watch

So who knows what to expect for 2021. One thing is for sure whatever transpires in 2021 it will certainly be better than 2020. Happy New Year and stay safe!    2020 weather watch

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