Pat Shingleton: "Thirsty Grapes"
California feeds the nation in a variety of agricultural products. Typically and on average they receive around 30 inches of rainfall. As they await their rainy season, that begins in October, last February there had only been 3.5 inches of rain. Recent rain events have caused flooding in some locations. The state's winemakers are very nervous and in Napa Valley grape farmers normally receive all of their water from rainfall that collects in rivers and reservoirs. Blame it on a ridge of high pressure that has diverted the polar jet stream. Last year was the driest on record since the 1840s and grape farmers are considering new approaches. Without compromising quality, farms may be downsized while watering patterns are possibly altered.