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California Drought: Rains Help Southern California

Woranuch Joyce / Capital Public Radio

The fourth year of drought in California has brought increased conservation in urban and rural areas. Some farmers have allowed land to go fallow.

Woranuch Joyce / Capital Public Radio

The U.S. Drought Monitor released August 13, showed that recent rains in California have brought some improvement.

"With the scattered rains, improvements were made to the D2 [severe drought] in southern California as the last several monsoons have been beneficial to this region and precipitation values are near normal over the last 3 years," according to the report.

0813 California Drought

 

The U.S. Drought Monitor drought "intensity" ranges from 'Abnormally Dry' to 'Exceptional Drought' and the report showed 46 percent of California is in exceptional drought, 71 percent is in extreme and 92 percent is in severe drought. 

In Nevada, there was improvement in one area, but an increase in exceptional drought in another part of the state.

"Continuing on the improvements started last week over northern Nevada, severe drought (D2) conditions were pushed to the west, improving the extreme drought (D3)," the report stated.

But "Nevada also showed the return of exceptional drought (D4) in the west central portion of the state. The earlier rains in the region that allowed for extreme drought have since subsided and the impacts are again present, especially in the agriculture and ranching communities, allowing for exceptional drought to expand this week."

While extreme drought decreased to 37.5 percent in Nevada, exceptional drought increased to nearly 16 percent.

0813 Nevada Drought

 

Drought intensifies in Pacific Northwest

0813 West Drought

In Washington and Oregon, extreme drought conditions "were pushed to the west as low flows on rivers and streams and warm water temperatures are impacting the region."  

Extreme drought expanded in northern Idaho last week, "where conditions continue to worsen, while some improvement to severe drought was shown in the southeast as recent rains helped the region."

Extreme drought increased to nearly 50 percent in Oregon, where 100 percent of the state is in severe drought.

In Washington state, extreme drought increased to 42.5 percent, up from 32 percent the previous week. No areas of Washington or Oregon are in exceptional drought. 

0813 Seasonal Drought Outlook