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Latest Data Shows California Drought Gets More Extreme


The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows that extreme drought has expanded in California.

In the July 15 discussion of the national drought, the report shows that much of California is in either in extreme drought (81.85 percent) or exceptional drought (36.49 percent) and “May-September normally dry, there is not much more room for further deterioration, at least during the dry season.” 

But then the report goes on to say that extreme drought has expanded in Southern California “east of San Diego to include the mountains, and to cities such as Riverside and San Bernardino.”

The report also cites NOAA National Climatic Data Center rankings showing that from July 2013 - June 2014, California experienced its warmest and third driest period since 1895.

“The only drier July-June periods were in 1923-24 and 1976-77,” according to the drought discussion released Thursday. “This is the first time California experienced three consecutive years in the top 20 for dryness: 2011-12 ranked 20th, 2012-13 ranked 18th, and statewide precipitation has averaged 67 percent of normal during this three-year period, and was just 56 percent of normal in 2013-14. Fortunately California’s reservoirs hold more water than they did in 1977 when the state experienced its 4th and 2nd driest years on record from July 1975."

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor is produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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