Although the National Weather Service announced last week that it forecasted a 70-percent chance that an El Niño pattern will continue in summer 2015, the U.S. Forest Service Predictive Services unit added that an unfavorable warmer-than-normal water temperatures developed off shore during the winter, which is indicative of a “a Modoki (Japanese for similar, but different) El Niño pattern.”
The report concluded, “Rainfall is typically lower-than-normal along the West Coast during a Modoki pattern, particularly in California. … little additional rainfall is expected through the end of the water year (June 30).”
Last week’s brief rain appears to confirm this trend. Over the nights of April 7 and 8, the U.S. Forest Service Keenwild Ranger Station recorded only 0.15 inches and Pine Cove recorded 0.23 inches. At the new weather station at the Town Crier, 0.24 inches were captured that night and the Idyllwild Fire Station recorded 0.25 inches that week.
The long-term average April rainfall at Idyllwild Fire Station has been nearly 2 inches, following slightly more than 4 inches in March. This year, fewer than 1.2 inches fell in March.
The governor declared the drought emergency in January and issued mandatory water reductions this month in an executive order. Urban water districts will have to reduce consumption between 10 and 35 percent.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors has scheduled a water reduction workshop for May 26. At its April 7 session, the board asked the county executive officer to organize the workshop and address several topics related to the mandatory water reductions: 1) How the county can reduce usage at its facilities and landscaping; 2) new development and irrigation and landscaping standards; 3) existing development retrofit opportunities and programs related to turf; and 4) education and outreach to residents and businesses.