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Weather threatens 'perfect drought' in Southern California

Earth News
California, USA

Photo: The Los Angeles skyline, pictured in January 2007. Los Angeles is going through its longest dry spell in at least 130 years, the National Weather Service said Sunday, fueling fears of rampant wildfires which have plagued the US west coast in recent years.

Nature is pulling a triple whammy on Southern California this year. Whether it's the Sierra, the Southland or the Colorado River Basin, every place that provides water to the region is dry. It's a RARE and troubling pattern that, if it persists, could thrust the region into what researchers have dubbed the perfect Southern California drought - when nature shortchanges every major branch of the far-flung water network that sustains 18 million people. Usually, it's reasonably wet in at least one of those places. But not this year. The mountain snowpack vital to water imports from Northern California is at the LOWEST LEVEL IN NEARLY TWO DECADES. The snowpack in the eastern Sierra is shaping up as ONE OF THE LOWEST SINCE THE START OF RECORDKEEPING in 1940. The Los Angeles area has received RECORD LOW RAINFALL this winter. And the Colorado River system remains in the grip of ONE OF THE WORST BASIN DROUGHTS IN CENTURIES. Ancient tree ring records indicate these droughts can go on for a couple of decades - much longer than anything experienced in modern times. The western mega-droughts that occurred between 900 and 1300 AD took place during a warming period that drove up temperatures in the western Pacific.

Los Angeles is going through its LONGEST DRY SPELL IN AT LEAST 130 YEARS, fueling fears of rampant wildfires which have plagued the US west coast in recent years. " The rain season is currently the driest to date in downtown Los Angeles since records began in 1877." The city had received just 2.47 inches (6.27 centimeters) of rain since July 1, 2006, far from the normal precipitation of 13.94 inches (35.4 centimeters) in the same period. The worst earth-scorching year on record in the United States was last year in 2006, when fires burned nearly 15.5 thousand square miles (39,957 square kilometers) - an area close to the size of Switzerland.

MOZAMBIQUE - Drought is affecting 25 of Mozambique's 128 districts as a result of irregular rainfall during the 2006/07 rainy season. Most of the drought-stricken districts are in the south of the country, and their situation is in dramatic contrast to that of the Zambezi valley which has been suffering from severe flooding.
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