Thursday, July 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

High pressure shields Solano County from rain

dry weather RK 1c

Chase Holder dips his rod into a small creek at Lagoon Valley Park Monday. According to the National Weather Service Solano County is set to experience more unseasonably warm weather this week, with temperatures raining up to 70 degrees and no rain. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | January 15, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — Solano County’s storm-repelling force shield of high pressure is back in place and as strong as ever, with some local farmers beginning to feel the heat.

The area got a spattering of rain on the weekend. Now the rain has again disappeared during what is usually the heart of the rainy season.

“At least for the next 10 days, it is dry, dry, dry,” said Mike Pechner, a Cordelia Villages resident and owner of Golden West Meteorology.

Flooding is a common January weather-related threat. Fire is a bigger danger this year. The National Weather Service on Monday and Tuesday called a red-flag fire warnings in nearby brown, dry hills because of winds. The National Weather Service on Tuesday predicted temperatures in Fairfield could reach 72 degrees on Wednesday, compared to the normal 52 degrees.

“The ridge of high pressure is right over the top of us,” Pechner said. “In that pattern, we get the absolute warmest air.”

That’s bad news for farmers in the Montezuma Hills of eastern Solano County. They depend on the rain to grow grasses for grazing sheep and to water crops such as wheat.

“All the ranchers are thinking about how we’re going to be able to feed our animals as time goes on,” rancher Al Medvitz said.

One option is buying hay, but that costs money. Another is selling off flocks, he said.

“There’s still time to get some food out here, if we got some rain maybe in the next couple of weeks,” Medvitz said.

If the rains come at some point beyond that, the vegetation growth won’t be as strong and vigorous as is typical, he said.

“We can still get rain and it will help some, but there’s still a setback here,” Medvitz said. “It’s serious.”

County Agricultural Commissioner Jim Allan agreed. He said the forage for sheep and cattle couldn’t catch up even with late-season rains.

“We would very much welcome (rain),” Allan said. “But the situation is dire enough up there that it could start raining right now and it just wouldn’t fix it.”

Farms in other parts of the county get irrigation water from Lake Berryessa reservoir. Typically, the Solano Irrigation District delivers no water between Oct. 15 and early March, with farmers getting rain for free from storms.

Not this year. The Solano Irrigation District Board of Directors on Thursday during a special meeting voted to start water deliveries outside the irrigation season.

About six property owners representing thousands of acres of agriculture attended the meeting, Solano Irrigation District General Manager Cary Keaten said. In addition, the district received calls from 40 to 60 other farmers who wanted irrigation water.

The Solano Irrigation District will deliver water for at least two weeks, Keaten said. Then it will play things by ear and see how February shapes up for rain.

“If there’s a couple of inches in the forecast, then we’ll hold off,” Keaten said.

Allan said the wintertime irrigation, either from pumping well water or using Solano Irrigation District water from Lake Berryessa, is an unanticipated cost for farmers.

Lake Berryessa reservoir in Napa County provides water to Solano County farms and cities. Despite the dry weather, it remains at 69 percent of capacity. The massive reservoir can be slow to fill and also slow to empty.

Allan is not yet ready to submit a drought declaration for Solano County farmers to the state and federal governments. He wants to know the extent of the losses first. Every day that the rain doesn’t fall, the situation gets worse, he said.

“You can pull the trigger too soon on those things,” Allan said.

Pechner doesn’t describe this strange weather as global warming, given the cold weather that has hit much of the nation.

“This has been a brutal winter in the nation’s midsection,” Pechner said. “You could say this is global warming, but you’d never convince anybody back East that’s the case.”

Climate change is a possibility, he said. The melting of glaciers changes water temperatures and ocean temperatures influence weather, he said. But he stressed he’s not saying the prolonged dry weather actually is a result of climate change. He also pointed out that local weather records go back only to about 1850.

“Our weather records compared to how long this particular weather regime has been here is like a pimple on the back of an elephant,” Pechner said.

A large solar flare last week could result in a shift in the weather pattern by Jan. 24 or 25, Pechner said.

“I think that could open the storm door, so to speak, meaning the jet stream would be coming more toward Northern California and possibly bring us some rain,” Pechner said. “That’s the only hope at this point.”

As for the storm over the weekend, it proved to be no game-changer for the dry stretch. Pechner said he got some drizzle and sprinkles at his house.

“I wouldn’t even call it a trace,” Pechner said.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or beberling@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Cities dealing with state drought rules

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Muralist helps locals ready for some painted wall history

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

It’s ‘camping for 30′ at the Solano fair

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Rejection makes us each stronger

By Angela Borchert | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Highway 12 crash sends 2 to hospital

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 12 Comments | Gallery

 
Mall to host Ultimate Army Throw Down

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Police release name of Vallejo homicide victim

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4, 8 Comments | Gallery

 
Police investigate Fairfield shooting

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Peace Corps evacuates over Ebola as 2 isolated

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Obama takes tougher line against Gaza casualties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 8 Comments

AP Analysis: Amid war, endgames in Gaza emerge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Ex-IRS official called conservatives ‘crazies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 6 Comments

 
Dissent quieted with most Israelis behind Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 14 Comments

 
Congress cooperates – and fights – as recess nears

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Powell maybe not told early about CIA techniques

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Crews work to keep Yosemite fire from sequoias

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Sanctions will damage Russia if not lifted quickly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Clashes prevent experts from reaching bodies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

 
Cruz gets border crisis wrong

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11, 8 Comments

Editorial Cartoons: July 31, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
What happened to the US?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 18 Comments

Am I blaming victims?

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11, 10 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: July 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for July 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes for July 31, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I want to change my daughters last name to my maiden name

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Commentary: ‘Orphan Black,’ Emmy snubs and questions of identity

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Allison Williams headed skyward as NBC’s Peter Pan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Contract dispute delays ‘Big Bang’ production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Hammel fails again for Athletics in loss to Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ray Guy’s long wait for Hall of Fame comes to end

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders owner confirms talks with San Antonio

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Lloyd’s film watching impresses 49ers teammates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

SF benefits from Pirates’ blunder, ends skid at 6

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Complete game shutout lifts Expos to State Tournament win

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Stanford star Ty Montgomery rehabbing shoulder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Greg Ives to crew chief Earnhardt in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Steelers to retire Hall of Famer Greene’s No. 75

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Fairfield-Suisun 6U Bobby Sox win titles

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

Usain Bolt in controversy at Commonwealth Games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Indians trade pitcher Masterson to Cardinals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Riley speaks out, insists Heat will be competitive

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Nadal out of 2 tournaments because of right wrist

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

US judge slaps $1.3B fine on Bank of America

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
A more vigorous US economy appears to be emerging

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Overhaul approved for troubled California refinery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Judge says Crystal CEO should testify in lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

.

Obituaries

Louise Scholten

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Ronald Witt Escue Sr.

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Scott Allen Shaver

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9