CW3E End of Winter Summary: WY 2021

April 7, 2021

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Water Year 2021 Characterized by Persistent Dry Weather and Worsening Drought in California

  • Total precipitation has been well below normal throughout much of California during water year (WY) 2021
  • In some regions, drier than normal conditions extend back to the start of WY 2020
  • Drought has expanded and intensified across the state, and current water storage levels are below normal in many reservoirs
  • Below-normal snowpack in the Sierra Nevada may limit water resource availability as summer approaches
  • The abnormally dry conditions were driven by a lack of landfalling atmospheric rivers (ARs) and persistent ridging/blocking over the Northeast Pacific Ocean
  • Drought is expected to continue through spring 2021, thereby increasing the threat of significant wildfire activity in summer 2021














Summary provided by C. Castellano, C. Hecht, J. Kalansky, N. Oakley, A. O’Donnell, and F. M. Ralph; 7 April 2021