MAP: Significantly dry winter pushes nearly half of California back into a drought


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON/AP) – A lack of rain statewide and a significantly dry winter has pushed some parts of California back into a drought, the U.S. Drought Monitor said.

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map of California provided by the National Weather Service, 46.15% of California is in a drought or “abnormally dry” category due to the lack of rain in January and early February.

Graphic: NWS Los Angeles

These dry conditions are expected to continue on for at least the next two weeks, weather officials predict.

The weekly report designates just over 9.5% of the state, including the central and southern Sierra Nevada and adjacent areas of the Central Valley, as being in moderate drought.

California had been drought-free since early December.

The Drought Monitor also expanded a designation of “abnormally dry” into San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and parts of northeastern California.

A week earlier the abnormally dry status applied to the Central Valley and a swath from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Sierra, as well as parts of the California-Oregon border.

In particular, the monitor pointed to precipitation deficits in central and southern sections of coastal California and in the central and southern Sierra, and a snowpack that is less than 60% of normal to date.

The National Weather Service office for the Los Angeles region said no change in the dry pattern is expected in the next two weeks and if there’s no rain many locations will be nearing the driest combined January and February on record.

State water authorities have noted that, fortunately, reservoirs are either at or above historical averages due to a wet 2019.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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