In California we’re in another severe drought. I took these two pictures of Lassen Peak in January, one this year and the other last year. You can see the stark difference. Lassen Peak is the southerly most of the major cascade volcanoes and is 10,463 feet (3,189 M) tall. Last year we had over 20 inches of rain at this time, and this year we have less than 4 inches. The snow pack is almost nonexistent. Cattle ranchers are having a hard time. There’s no new grass and the foothills are as brown as July. The price of hay is going to go through the roof forcing many of the ranchers to sell off their cattle. Our ski resorts are having a terrible winter due to the lack of snow. It’ll be a tough year for these folks and the long term forecast is grim. Expect the California water war to once again rear it’s ugly head.
This summer we are expecting our share of challenges in the woods. Drought stress will cause tree die off. This will create prime conditions for bark beetle infestation as the trees become more and more stressed. Worst of all will be the fire danger. I think red flag fire warnings will be the theme of the this summer.