A funny thing happened on the way to our usual wet season. Mother Nature turned off the spigot.
December 2011 in the Lake Almanor Basin was the driest in more than a decade. Only 0.32 inch of total precipitation was recorded at the automated site near Prattville, as compared to more than 5 inches in an average December.
Snowfall on the West Shore was a mere 1.5 inches, a far cry from the more than 2 feet that would be expected during an average month.
As a result, our seasonal accumulation since the first of July now stands at 3.60 inches of total precipitation (28 percent of average) and 20 inches of snowfall (49 percent of average).
The next three months are critical to our seasonal water situation. January, for example, typically brings more than 6 inches of moisture and 3 feet of snowfall to the Basin.
February and March usually bring a little less, but are also major parts of our wet season. After that point, moisture starts to taper off as we approach our customary summer drought.
The major unknown this year is just how disruptive the current La Niña influence will be.