Sunshine and blue skies dominate early 2014

Photo by Pat VanDyke

The golden color of trees along the shoreline at Pebble Cove caught the eye of photographer Barbara Spraul during a recent boat cruise. She says, "The weather has been so great we took a boat ride last week and caught the last of the Fall colors reflecting on the lake. It was such a beautiful, peaceful site (and sight) in the middle of such a busy time of year."


Canyon Lakers probably were tempted to feel a little smug (along with sympathy, of course) while watching the news of subzero temperatures experienced last weekend across the Midwest and Northeast section of the U.S. Here in Canyon Lake, blue skies, sunshine and daytime temperatures in the mid 70s saw many people out in their shorts and flip-flops.

Pat VanDyke says she took the above photo during a Sunday afternoon boat cruise with her husband, Pete, noting that the fine weather was one of the reasons they moved from Illinois to Canyon Lake 37 years ago this month, on January 5, 1977.

"The interesting thing is that the day that we drove out of Illinois, there was a storm that had record subzero temperatures and snowfall.†We made it out of the area just a few short hours†before they were all snowed in," Pat says.†"When we arrived in Canyon Lake three days later and began to 'live the good life,' we couldn't understand why we were the only ones swimming in the lake.†It was warm to us!"†

While the warm, sunny weather makes electric heating bills a little more tolerable this time of year, there is a downside to those clear skies.

On the water watch website,, Steve Johnson, a meteorologist with Atmospherics Group International, discusses the California drought of 2013 and is quoted as saying, “The last year threw the old records out the door. On a 1 to 10 scale, 2013 was a 14 to 16. That’s how big an event this was compared to the previous drought . . . It’s a Hurricane Katrina-type event for the drought field.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that "Urban and agricultural customers, including Southern California's huge Metropolitan Water District, have been told by the state to expect to receive this year, on average, just five percent of the water they historically request, after a year in which rainfall totals hit record lows."

According to, “The culprit for this dearth of rain and mountain snow is a persistent ridge of high pressure aloft over the eastern north Pacific Ocean, which has diverted the jet stream, and hence, the storm track, well to the north into Canada.” Forecasters say they don’t see any signs of the pattern turning wetter in the immediate future.

Unless Canyon Lake gets something like a “March miracle” rain event, as it did several years ago during a drought year, water levels are doomed to drop even lower. The Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District usually operates its water treatment plant several months out of year, which accounts for a major drop in water level. However, Ben Wicke, a member of the EVMWD board of directors, says the treatment plant hasn't been operating during several months of maintenance and there are no plans to start it up in the near future.

The water district contractually isn't required to import water until the lake level drops to 1,372 feet above sea level. Currently, the lake is at 1,376.43 feet.