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California-Nevada Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar: July 24, 2023

Event Date
July 24, 2023
Event Time
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

According to the July 18 U.S. Drought Monitor, only 9.5% of California/Nevada is in drought, down from 99% at the start of the water year (October 2022). Drought primarily remains now in parts of southeastern California and southern Nevada, which did not receive above-normal precipitation. The short-term weather concern is extreme heat, which is expected to hit the region this week. This webinar provided an overview of the current conditions and outlooks, a presentation on Improving Nevada's Drought and Climate Monitoring Network, and more.

The California-Nevada Drought Early Warning System July 2023 Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar is part of a series of regular drought and climate outlook webinars designed to provide stakeholders and other interested parties in the region with timely information on current drought status and impacts, as well as a preview of current and developing climatic events (e.g., El Niño and La Niña).


Welcome to the California-Nevada Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar

Speaker: Amanda Sheffield | NOAA's National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), CU Boulder/Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)



Drought and Climate Update & Outlook

Speaker: Julie Kalansky | California Nevada Adaptation Program (CNAP, a NOAA CAP/RISA Team), CW3E, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

  • Drought was significantly mitigated throughout this water year and has continued in the last two months in Nevada.
  • The northern part of California/Nevada has been warm, and recently much of the region (except the coasts and eastern Nevada) has been 4–6˚F above normal. Evaporative demand has increased significantly in the last week. A warm August is likely.
  • Snow has mostly melted, though a little remains; streamflows are generally still high throughout the region with some exceptions.
  • We are currently in an El Niño alert—lots of variability for what this means for winter precipitation. 



Improving Nevada’s Drought and Climate Monitoring Network

Speaker: Stephanie McAfee | Nevada State Climatologist, University of Nevada Reno

  • This NIDIS-funded project had two overarching questions: Is the existing drought monitoring network representative of Nevada’s landscape? What are the highest priority improvements to Nevada’s drought monitoring network? 
  • Nevada has 16 weather station networks with publicly available data that are adequate for drought monitoring. 
  • Following an assessment of the existing network plus an afternoon virtual work group combined with offline comments, suggestions are for:
    • Adding new stations to especially sparse areas
    • Improving instrumentation and communications
    • Conducting more physiography climate relationship research
    • Approaching network buildout strategically.



U.S. Forest Service Aerial Detection Survey Program Update

Speaker: Nicholas Holomuzki | USDA U.S. Forest Service

  • Many trees in many areas likely never recovered from the last major drought of 2015–2018. 
  • New mortality is heaviest in the central Sierra Nevada Range and areas further north.
  • So far, true fir are the most heavily affected species.
  • What to expect in 2023? 
    • Since the aerial survey has a lag, trees killed in 2022 will likely be mapped in 2023. 
    • Beetle populations are still massive on the landscape, especially fir engraver.
    • One wet year will not stop this ongoing mortality event.




Speaker: Amanda Sheffield | NOAA/NIDIS, CU Boulder/CIRES

  • Register now for the next webinar in this series on Monday, September 25, 2023.