Last week, record-low temperatures in the Midwest and East. Forecasters are now predicting record highs this week in Southern California, which is already suffering with a drought. The Polar Vortex was behind the deep freeze, but there’s another weather phenomenon that's keeping the rain away.
A ranch in central California has to buy hay to feed its herd. It's so dry, grass won't grow on the normally lush hills.
Rancher Karen Strohn said, "It looks
the moon, you know the ground's cracked, it's just bare."
Ed and Karen Strohn's cows are hungry and barely have enough energy to feed their calves. This week, the Strohns will sell a hundred of them.
looking at the skies and watching the weather report, but they don't keep
bringing any rain for us," Ed Strohn said.
Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA's jet propulsion laboratory, said, "We're just bone-dry here, really from Texas to California, from Oregon to Colorado."
Patzert says what's known as "Pacific decadal oscillation"
has warmed waters in the upper Pacific. That has created a strong high pressure
system pushing the jet stream north. It's so persistent meteorologists have
nicknamed it "The Triple R": ridiculously resilient ridge of high pressure.
Asked if there are any signs that this
pattern is going to change anytime soon, Patzert said, “My forecast is for a continuing
drought here in the American West. I'd love to be wrong.”
2013 was the driest year on record in California. Now, 87 percent of the state is in a severe drought.
Karen Strohn said, “It breaks your
heart, it's just, it's really sad."