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Posted by: Kim_Hamilton on 05/14/2008 12:53 PM Updated by: Kim_Hamilton on 05/14/2008 12:55 PM
Expires: 01/01/2013 12:00 AM
:

May Forest Weather Update~By Lonnie Allison

Forest Precipitation....Based on data from Pinecrest, Mi Wok and Groveland Ranger Stations, forest precipitation to date is 57% of average. This is a drop from 63% a month ago due to April being extremely dry (.18" at Pinecrest and Mi Wok; .12 at Groveland). This is the driest March-April period on the forest based on 45 years data at the Pinecrest site. It appears that this water year (2007-2008) will end with about the same precipitation as 2006-2007. If so, this will be second driest back-to-back year period on record, surpassed only by the extreme drought of '75-76 and '76-77. This year is more deceptively dry than last because we had a lot of snow in January and February. However, last fall was very dry and it....


has essentially not rained in March and April.

Precipitation predictions for May show no rain through about the first three weeks of the month. If May turns out to be below average this will also be a record dry period for March-April-May.

Snowpack

Snowpack in the two main watersheds on the forest, the Stanislaus and Tuolumne Rivers, is only about 55% of average. Water year runoff is expected to be somewhat greater (about 63%) because it includes rain storms from last fall.

Summary/Management Implications

With over 90% of the water year gone, it is certain that this will be a very dry year. Last year was the 5th driest on record and this year will be in the same range - it could even be drier the way it looks now.

The most significant items about this very dry year are that it is the second in a row and that the spring period is record-dry. Both indicate an extreme fire hazard this summer, especially the latter since fuels are already at record dry moisture for this time of year. This may result in restrictions on forest recreation use sooner than usual and more constraints on implementing vegetation management projects. The last two consecutive dry years like this saw a massive increase in tree mortality from bark beetle activity 1-2 years later. On the positive side, the mosquitos shouldn't be too bad in the high country...


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