SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — From the fast-moving South Yuba River to snowless land, there are many ways to tell that snowmelt in the central Sierra is happening quicker and sooner than expected.
But for Megan Seifert, the founder and executive director of the educational-based nonprofit Headwaters Science Institute, the most telling sign is daffodils.
“No, these actually have been out for over two weeks and I really can’t remember a time that we’ve had them out before sometime in May, June,” Seifert told FOX40 Wednesday.
Seifert says fewer snowstorms and consistently warmer weather are some reasons why the flowers are blooming so early and has no doubt the less than desirable snow season will impact people down the mountain this coming summer.
“This year, the prediction is that we will be in drought, anywhere from moderate to slightly severe drought, for at least 60 or more percent for the state, are kind of the early predictions I’ve seen,” she said.
“Droughts cause public health and safety impacts, as well as economic and environmental impacts. Public health and safety impacts are primarily associated with catastrophic wildfire risks and drinking water shortage risks for small water systems in rural areas and private residential wells,” according to the California Department of Water Resources.
The department said issues can include catastrophic wildfire risks, drinking water shortages and costs to homeowners due to loss of residential landscaping among other impacts.
The worst-case scenario is a prolonged drought similar to what California saw between 2012 and 2016.
“We are going to see some impacts of drought already just from having a normal season last year and then a low season this year,” Seifert explained. “You’ll feel some of those effects and then one or two more seasons and we’re back into the pretty severe drought like we had a couple of years ago.”