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Record winter drought


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#1 iwan

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 08:19 PM

Last year was one of the wettest winters in local history. This year the driest. We have not had rain since Nov 20th and last December tied the record for no rain set in 1989. Some of you may remember 1989. I hope this is not an omen.

We are about two weeks short of having the longest winter dry spell on record and the ten day forcast has no rain in sight. Luckily the central Sierra reservoirs are still well stocked from last winter.
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Robert

Madera, CA (central San Joaquin valley)
9A

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#2 MattyB

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 12:31 PM

What happened in 1989. I wasn't born yet.
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Matt Bradford
"Manambe Lavaka"
Spring Valley, CA (8.5 miles inland from San Diego Bay)
10B on the hill (635 ft. elevation)
9B in the canyon (520 ft. elevation)

#3 monkeyranch

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 06:03 PM

Here in the foothills the native Live Oak leaves are browning and dropping from lack of water when they are normally putting on winter growth. The persistent high pressure and dry conditions have set up inversion weather in the Central Valley with warm air lofting over the cold foggy valley. Stockton and a other weather stations have had record cold mornings. At the same time at 1900 feet elevation I've had almost no frost, a low of only 30deg F, hedychiums and cannas are still growing, and musa basjoo is a little yellow but growing. Day time temps have been 55 to 70 deg F and Trachycarpus and others are growing strong. At lower elevations warm daytime temps have tricked the deciduous Blue Oak into breaking bud and putting on new leaves almost a month and a half early. This despite dry soils and fire warnings. Problem now is if rainfall is to catch up to normal it will have to rain like crazy with the troubles of a long soggy spring. But if precipitation is dry to moderate then we've got a drought. Troubles either way. Urban users and irrigated agriculture should be alright with reservoir water from last year's snowpack. However, low soil moisture creates dieback and deadwood in the native woodlands. Could be a rough fire season.
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#4 iwan

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 05:32 PM

1989/90 was the big freeze prior to 2007 and from everything I have read, much worse. Eleven of our record low freeze temps were set during the spring of 89/winter of 90 with three consecutive days of 18F (our absolute record low). I wasn't into gardening then.


What happened in 1989. I wasn't born yet.


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Robert

Madera, CA (central San Joaquin valley)
9A

#5 iwan

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 05:39 PM

Unfortunately, this "false spring" growth along with drought stressed plants is going to be tough when the freeze does hit the next few days.

At least rain is in the forecast for the end of the week, after ~60 days of drought. There is no good outcome this year. If we make up the rain, there will probably be flooding and low snow pack so late in the season. If the rain just dribbles in, oh well....


Here in the foothills the native Live Oak leaves are browning and dropping from lack of water when they are normally putting on winter growth. The persistent high pressure and dry conditions have set up inversion weather in the Central Valley with warm air lofting over the cold foggy valley. Stockton and a other weather stations have had record cold mornings. At the same time at 1900 feet elevation I've had almost no frost, a low of only 30deg F, hedychiums and cannas are still growing, and musa basjoo is a little yellow but growing. Day time temps have been 55 to 70 deg F and Trachycarpus and others are growing strong. At lower elevations warm daytime temps have tricked the deciduous Blue Oak into breaking bud and putting on new leaves almost a month and a half early. This despite dry soils and fire warnings. Problem now is if rainfall is to catch up to normal it will have to rain like crazy with the troubles of a long soggy spring. But if precipitation is dry to moderate then we've got a drought. Troubles either way. Urban users and irrigated agriculture should be alright with reservoir water from last year's snowpack. However, low soil moisture creates dieback and deadwood in the native woodlands. Could be a rough fire season.


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Robert

Madera, CA (central San Joaquin valley)
9A

#6 MattyB

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 08:22 PM

Theres still plenty of time
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Matt Bradford
"Manambe Lavaka"
Spring Valley, CA (8.5 miles inland from San Diego Bay)
10B on the hill (635 ft. elevation)
9B in the canyon (520 ft. elevation)

#7 iwan

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 09:19 PM

We are almost 10" below normal annual rainfall so far. That is a lot to make up without seriously saturated soil.
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Robert

Madera, CA (central San Joaquin valley)
9A

#8 iwan

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 07:19 AM

Rain, finally, after 58 days of winter drought.
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Robert

Madera, CA (central San Joaquin valley)
9A

#9 _Keith

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 07:36 PM

2010 was the driest year in our 118 years of keeping records.

And as far as 1989, it was easily a 100 year freeze event here, maybe even a 500 year event. Here in Zone 9a, we got down to 9 degrees with 80 consecutive hours below freezing.
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#10 JasonD

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 11:01 PM

My memory of 1989 was a dry freeze in early February that ended with a warming storm staring briefly as sleet. Then, we had the epic freeze in December of 1990 and again in January of 1991, worst since 1972, maybe earlier. I do not remember 1972 except that my grandparents had hoped it would kill the giant blue gums around their house in Sausalito. The trees resprouted from the branches.
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Jason Dewees
Inner Sunset District
San Francisco, California
Sunset zone 17
USDA zone 10a
21 inches / 530mm annual rainfall, mostly October to April
Humidity averages 60 to 85 percent year-round.
Summer: 67F/55F | 19C/12C
Winter: 56F/44F | 13C/6C
40-year extremes: 96F/26F | 35.5C/-3.8C

#11 JasonD

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 11:06 PM

Here's a question for those with longer memories: I've been told that during the drought of 1976-77 many of the deciduous native oaks didn't even leaf out after the second dry winter. Does anyone recall observing this phenomenon?
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Jason Dewees
Inner Sunset District
San Francisco, California
Sunset zone 17
USDA zone 10a
21 inches / 530mm annual rainfall, mostly October to April
Humidity averages 60 to 85 percent year-round.
Summer: 67F/55F | 19C/12C
Winter: 56F/44F | 13C/6C
40-year extremes: 96F/26F | 35.5C/-3.8C




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