Punxsutawney Pete saw his shadow Friday morning and predicted six more weeks of bitter snow and cold in the East, but corresponding sunny warmth and drought in California.
Pete’s prediction appears to be backed by the latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor, which found about 73 percent of California is “abnormally dry”; the southern 43 percent of the state is in “moderate drought”; and five percent of the state, concentrated around Santa Barbara and Ventura County, is in “severe drought.”
The California average statewide mountain snow water equivalent level for this time of year is at just 30 percent, with the southeastern Sierra Mountains at a bone-dry level of 21 percent. There is virtually no new mountain snow expected for the next three weeks.
But due to last year’s 100-year storm, the water levels at California’s 12 largest reservoirs are about 6 percent above their historical averages. That number would be even higher the if Oroville Dam’s ongoing $870 million repair effort did not force the California Department of Water Resources (DWR)to drain the water level down to 61 percent of its historical average.
The combination of moist ground from the last year’s epic rains and this season’s above average temperatures has been great for California plant growth, and desert communities are expecting another flower super-bloom. But farming communities are worried about the season ahead.
In addition, the reemergence of California drought will undoubtedly bring back cries of global warming, but America is suffering the cold winter in its recorded history. It was so cold around Cape Cod, Massachusetts that the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy found 3 thresher sharks on the shore that were “stranded due to cold shock” and had suffered cardiac arrest.
Sunday’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis between the Philadelphia Eagles and Boston Patriots will be the coldest ever recorded in its 52-year history, with -1 degree temperatures and wind gust of 14-miles per hour pushing the chill to -8 degrees.
Thankfully for the players, fans, and scantily-clad cheerleaders, the indoor U.S. Bank Stadium will be heated to a comparatively balmy 68 degrees. The previous coldest Super Bowl was was Super Bowl XVI in 1982, with Detroit temperatures dropping to 16 degrees. That game was also played indoors.