Bare with me for one post as I cover the droughts effects or skip to the next post.
Fortunately for me and the hundreds of other riders the cause of the drought has limited the amount of snow and rain, or any other form of precipitation for going on three years.
According to a report from California's Department of Water Resources the water content of the snowpack statewide was just 20 percent of average for early January. This ties January 2012 as the driest in historical records for this time of year. The state's mountain snowfall plays a big role in the water supply for California, particularly in the Sierra Nevada.
California's Sierra Nevada Conservancy says that 60 percent of the state's developed water supply originates from this high mountain range that runs north to south near the Nevada border. As of Jan. 8, snowpack in the Sierra was only 19 to 29 percent of average.
In early December, about 88 percent of the Sierra was covered by snow after a cold air mass brought snow to very low elevations. A month later on Jan. 9, a paltry 21.3 percent of the Sierra Nevada was covered by snow.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor released on Jan. 7, 28 percent of California was in extreme drought. California's Central Valley, where agriculture is a big industry, is the epicenter for this second worst of the four possible drought categories.
This is the highest percentage of extreme drought in California during the winter months from December through February dating back to 2000. In addition, only one other time since 2000 has extreme drought covered a higher percentage of the state. In late summer 2007, this figure reached as high as 35 percent.
Moderate to severe drought covers 88 percent of the state as of Jan. 7. Although this is a bit lower than the 94 percent reported during summer 2013, the current percentage remains higher than any other time from 2000 to 2012.
The Department of Water Resources says that at this time it estimates it will only be able to deliver five percent of the water requested by 29 public agencies for 2014. This water provides for more than 25 million Californians and almost a million acres of irrigated farmland. The initial allocation estimate ties 2010 as the lowest on record, however it's hoped that this figure will be increased if wetter conditions develop as the winter continues.
Apparently there is a high pressure system parked on the West coast and as we all know weather flows into low pressure areas. The highway information signs advise people to conserve water in between traffic updates.
All this makes riding dry paved roads at 8,000ft possible. However, the forest service roads are closed to prevent fires according to an employee in the forest when I asked him.