A February without rain could boost wildfire danger in Northern California
Meteorologists say much of Northern California likely will not see a drop of rain in February, heightening concerns that summer will arrive with below-average rainfall and tinder-dry hillsides susceptible to wildfire.
It’s too early to declare the rainy season a bust, as there could be huge storms in March and April. But a bone-dry February would make it nearly impossible to catch up to seasonal expectations, meteorologists warn.
“It’s really dry right now, and that’s making it more likely we’ll have a dry fire season and worse conditions this year,” said LeRoy Westerling, a climate and fire scientist at UC Merced. “But the caveat is, we still have a few months left of the rainy season, and it could change.”
So far this month, no rain has fallen in the Bay Area, and forecasts and weather models for the next two weeks show little hope for a drenching storm.
“There might be some chance — a small chance — a little system in the Pacific Northwest will dip into Northern California over the weekend,” said Scott Rowe, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “But even if it happens, it won’t be very wet.”