Still only moderate by the way the National Drought Mitigation Center classifies things, but that darker brown shade to the east and south of us marks "severe drought." Yellow on the map is a lesser category of "exceptionally dry." (The deep red in Wyoming is for "extreme drought.") It's all really about the supply of water for agricultural uses, and what matters to our reservoirs is the snow pack in the Sierra Nevada and the mountains of far Northern California, plus in the Colorado River Basin. If this rainy season continues to stay so dry locally, though, we'll see the effects in yards and parks and eventually in street trees. The LAT's expert Robert Smaus notes: "Gardens cannot get by on irrigation alone. They need deep soaking rains that reach tree roots and flush harmful salts (found in irrigation water) from the soil." Hat tips to the blogs Bad Mom, Good Mom and Breathing Treatment.
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