California’s epic drought hasn’t let up:
Nearly the entire Golden State – 99.81 percent to be exact — is in the grip of drought, according to the latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor. Nearly 70 percent of the state is suffering from an “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, the two highest categories on the Monitor’s rating scale. The snowpack across the entire state is at a measly 35 percent of its normal level, according to figures released Monday, and water systems and residents are feeling the strain.
The drought has been building in California for the past three years, though it reached its worst point after this winter wet season failed to live up to its name. At this point last year, only a quarter of the state was in drought conditions; now, that much of the state is in exceptional drought alone — marking the first time the Monitor has used that rating in California since it’s inception in 1999, said one of the Monitor’s authors, Mark Svoboda, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center(NDMC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.