The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows that the intensity level of drought has increased in California and Nevada, as some areas of both states head toward one of the driest January's on record.
California remains nearly 100 percent in drought (98.13 percent) and "exceptional" drought expanded slightly. The levels of drought conditions range from "Abnormally Dry" to "Exceptional" on the monitor scale.
Conditions worsened in Nevada, also nearly 100 percent in drought. The report showed that "Exceptional Drought" expanded in southern Nevada, "Extreme Drought" expanded in the north and "Moderate Drought" increased in eastern Nevada, along the border with Utah.
The report said with temperatures 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, "only portions of northwest Washington and eastern New Mexico recorded any precipitation of significance" in the Western U.S. last week.
January is likely to be one of the driest on record for many areas in the Western United States. So far, San Francisco has not had any measureable rain this month. The city is on track to have its driest January in 165 years, according to the National Weather Service.
Downtown Sacramento, with 0.01 inches of measureable precipitation so far this month (on January 19) is headed for a record dry January. The National Weather Service in Sacramento said the driest January on record was 0.07 inches, in 1877. Stockton has received 0.02 inches of precipitation in January 2015. The record driest in Stockton was 0.14 inches in January 1976.