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Santa Barbara County preparing for next drought

California Drought Monitor
US Drought Monitor

SOLVANG, Calif. -- California is nearing the end of the rainy season. Most of California's rainfall tends to be between November to April. And so far this year has fallen below average.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), most of the Central Coast is around 50% of the rainfall we'd normally expect. The highest rain total is near Cachuma Dam at 60%. While the lowest is near Santa Barbara Airport at 46%. San Luis Obispo is in the middle at 54%.

Last week the Solvang City Council discussed the Santa Ynez Valley entering moderate drought conditions. That's according to the United States Drought Monitor.

The end of January brought an atmospheric river to Santa Barbara County, flooding some areas like Folded Hills Winery Ranch, south of Buellton. Owner, Andrew Busch, recorded 17 inches of rain on his property in just 60 hours.

"We've been here since 2004 and that was the largest rain we've had in that period of time," said Busch.

But in the months since that atmospheric river, Folded Hills has only recorded a disappointing 2 inches of rain.

"It sure is you know," said Busch. "We certainly would have liked to have had another ten inches or so spread out through the year. But we will take all that we can get."

Busch said he installed drip system during the last major drought. Right now, Santa Barbara County is at about half of its average rainfall for this time of year. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows the county in a moderate to severe drought, depending on the area. And Busch said that's something he's learned to adapt to.

Agriculture / California / Santa Barbara - South County / Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County
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Scott Sheahen

Scott Sheahen is a reporter for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Scott, click here.

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