Late 2014 storms not enough to cure California drought

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Authorities believe the storm systems that could have saved us may have already passed. (KFSN)

There's bad news for Valley communities and farmers struggling in the midst of our state's water crisis. It's been a bone-dry January; not one drop of rain has fallen in Fresno County this month.
The sounds and sights of rain filled the Valley in November and December, as California saw some big weather makers that made many optimistic for the months ahead. So far in January, it's been a much drier picture.

"We really need that rain and we're not getting it in the months that we usually do," Action News meteorologist Shelby Latino said. She added that it doesn't look like we'll get any rain for the entire month.

The conditions have been unusually warm. Video was taken Friday at China Peak as the mountain felt the warm sun. Back on the Valley floor, the rain totals have been tallied.

"As far as how we're doing for the water season that begins on July 1st, we're actually below average on that as well," said Latino. "So we've received just over 3 1/4 inches of rain this water season. We should be over 4 inches, so we're running at about 70 percent of normal right now."

The winter months are critical for rain in the Valley and snow in the mountains. Experts fear the storms we saw earlier weren't enough to bring us back from drought conditions.

"The effects of that are already past us. The runoff has dropped back to very low levels. Much of the precipitation that fell over the mountains just simply soaked in because things were so dry," said J. Randall McFarland, spokesman for the Kings River Water Association & Friant Water Authority.

McFarland says without a strong snowpack, many water systems will likely have to deal with the hand they're given this year. He said, "We're going to have to really bite the bullet and there's going to be a lot of hurt, especially among farmers whose wells are failing, don't have surface water, communities that are hurting for water supply. The list just goes on and on."

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