Happy Groundhog Day!

It’s Groundhog Day. So what did “Punxsutawney Phil” have to say about the coming of Spring? And what does his prediction mean for water folks?

No shadow today for P. Phil. Legend has it that this means that Spring should arrive six weeks earlier than if this rodent of rainfall had seen a dark image of himself this morning.

With most of the country freezing and seeing incredible snowfall, P. Phil’s prediction is most welcome. However, I’m worried.

After a stupendous December, rainfall in southern California in January was abysmal. And this is of real concern, since January is our second wettest month. The wettest month is February, and the first couple of weeks of this month look to be completely dry too. Plus, the relatively warm weather is melting the snow pack a few months too early. So I, for one, was hoping P. Phil would be bringing us news of more rain.

Of course, we should rely on more scientific methods to forecast our precipitation. But those are not any more encouraging than our burrowing friend from Pennsylvania. So we remain grateful for our December bounty, and cautious about the rest of Winter and Spring.

The California Department of Water Resources increased the allocation to 60% of requests a couple weeks ago. See:

http://www.water.ca.gov/swpao/docs/notices/11-03.pdf

Precipitation has slowed, but it remains better in northern California than in the drier south, and the north is where our major precipitation collection systems are. But the 60% level will only be increased if we see something close to normal for the remainder of the rainy season — which DWR officially considers to be until May 1.

Bill Murray starred in a movie titled “Groundhog Day” several years ago. The theme of the movie was that he was stuck in a sort of time loop, and things just kept recurring. In our own way, we are seeing the same thing: we just completed the State Distribution exam, and we are looking forward to the same exam coming back in … six weeks!

I wonder if that is what P. Phil really foresaw this morning.

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