California’s snowpack is only 60% of the average — again. The Sierra Nevada snowpack normally supplies about 30% of the state’s water, and low levels are prompting worries over water supplies and extreme wildfires — again. The April 1 measurement typically shows snowpack at its peak before it begins to melt and is important for water supply forecasting. “We’re comparing this year a lot, hydrologically speaking, to 2014-2015, which was the height of the drought,” Chris Orrock, spokesman for the California Department of Water Resources, told the San Francisco Chronicle. Climate change worsens wildfires in multiple ways, including by making droughts more likely to occur.
The National Interagency Fire Center also predicted high wildland fire potential across the U.S. with 11 western states having areas of severe drought. That includes North Dakota, where multiple fires are currently burning. The Governor has declared a statewide emergency and the town of Medora was evacuated Thursday. (California: San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, Bloomberg $, AP, San Francisco Chronicle, KTLA, KPIX, LAist; Western droughts and wildfire risk: Wildfire Today; North Dakota: Grand Forks Herald, Billings Gazette, CNN, ABC, Inforum; Climate Signals background: Drought, Wildfires)