Driest winter months in 100 years mark third year of drought
January, February, and March had the least rain and snow on record for any of these months in California.
These warm, dry months overshadowed gains in precipitation at the end of 2021. Snow melted faster than expected, reducing snowpack to just 38% of average by April 1.
This is the state’s second extreme drought in 10 years, a symptom of a warming climate.
See more on California drought conditions at California Water Watch.
Overview of 2021
The water year that ended September 30 was the second driest on record, due to extreme heat and lack of rain and snow. All 58 counties in California are now under a drought emergency proclamation.
Most rain and snow falls in California from November through April. It fills the reservoirs and aquifers that we use to supply homes, businesses, and farms. It also supports fish and wildlife that depend on our rivers and wetlands.
Warm temperatures in California this April and early May have made 2021 a critically dry year. Snow melted and runoff evaporated at a faster rate in the Sacramento, Feather, and American River watersheds.
The state continues to track drought conditions. It’s committed to tackling the drought emergency while addressing long-standing water challenges.
Read more in Water Year 2021: An Extreme Year.
Check water conditions across California: