Sacramento, Calif., (June 26, 2017) – Another hot and dry week occurred across the State. Rainfall was limited to Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, which brought very light isolated showers to parts of the Sierras, dropping less than a tenth of an inch of rain; and again on Sunday, which had some light showers across the far northern part of the State as a Pacific moisture surge entered southern Oregon. These areas along the northern tier received about a tenth of an inch of rain, with an isolated quarter of an inch in places.
Temperatures accelerated snowmelt in the mountains, with the snowline retreating to over 9,000 feet in elevation. Above this altitude, extensive snowfields in a band about 30 to 40 miles wide still existed between Tahoe and Sequoia National Forest. Snowdepths in these areas were two to four feet, approaching five feet in areas. Mt. Whitney and Mt. Shasta remained snow-covered at their peaks.
Temperature highs were in the 60s to 70s along the coast, 70s to 90s in the mountains, 100s to 110s in the valley, and 100s to 120s in the desert. The temperature lows were in the 40s to 60s in the mountains, 50s to 60s along the coast, 60s to 70s in the valley, and 70s to 90s in the desert.
Alfalfa fields were making excellent progress. Corn and sorghum for silage continued being planted, cultivated, and irrigated. The corn silage crop was in various stages, from newly planted to already producing tassels. Cotton continued to be irrigated, cultivated, and was growing well.
Peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums continued to be harvested. Grapevines continued to have leaves removed to allow for improved air circulation and light around the developing bunches to improve color. Late Navel orange harvest was completed. Valencia orange harvest continued. Regreening has become more common due to the higher temperatures. Ruby Red grapefruit were harvested.
Walnut, almond, and pistachio orchards were irrigated. Mechanical and chemical weed control continued in nut orchards. In Sutter and Yuba Counties, walnut growers applied sunburn preventive materials.
In Tulare County certified producers were picking tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and peppers for sale at the local Farmers’ Markets. Italian squash, eggplant, and cucumbers continued to be harvested. Blueberry and strawberry harvests slowed down and were expected to come to a close with this week’s hot weather. Sweet corn harvest began with a few roadside stands opening and sales at the local Farmers’ markets. Carrot harvest had slowed down. Extreme hot weather had sunburned some tomatoes. In Fresno County, carrots continued to be irrigated. Weeding of lettuce seed fields continued. Roughly one-third of the onion harvest had been completed. Onion seed was drying out. In Monterey County, celery harvest began and was picking up. In Imperial County, spring melons and sweet corn were harvested. Many farmers were finished with melon harvest and were plowing fields. In Colusa, Sacramento, Solano, and Yolo Counties, tomato crops were progressing, even though the recent heat wave slowed crop development.
Hot temperatures contributed to the drying out of non-irrigated grasses and forbs. Non-irrigated rangeland was reported to be in good to very poor condition depending on elevation, aspect and soil moisture. The extended period of extreme temperatures and dry winds prompted Red Flag fire warnings across much of the state. Early fire season rangeland fires were impacting the western states, including Idaho and Oregon. California has had more acres burned this year since January 1st than the comparable period last year. Cattle continued to be moved to higher elevation range. Sheep grazed on retired pasture and dormant alfalfa. Bees were active in melon and vegetable fields.