FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — Despite the recent rain and mountain snow, Central California is still officially in a drought — a drought that is already starting to show its effects in the Valley.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and the USDA are pointing to signs that our Moderate Drought here in Central California will persist or get worse over the coming months.
Central California officially reached “Moderate Drought” status in February. The USDA’s designation is based on measurements like precipitation and streamflow.
There are five categories of dryness and drought, ranging from abnormally dry to moderate drought, where we are now all the way up to exceptional drought.
In a moderate drought, there is an increased need for irrigation.
Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner Tom Tucker says, “All of our tree fruit and our nuts and even our citrus is starting to come out of winter and starting to increase its need for water and nutrients.”
Tucker knows another impact of moderate drought is stunted dryland pasture growth. “That’s a feed that they rely on for their cattle.”
Although the coming weekend looks hopeful, it may not be enough to relieve the drought.
“We just have to make certain cuts and we have to be extra careful about every drop we use and preserve it for next year, the year after. We just don’t know what that’s going to bring us,” Tucker said.