Data released Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that 58 percent of California is facing “exceptional drought,” the most severe condition on the center’s scale and the worst ever recorded in the state.
“You keep beating the record, which are still all from this year," climatologist Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Center told the Los Angeles Times, noting that this is the first time such dryness has ever been recorded in California since the federal government started releasing drought reports in the 1990s.
The latest assessment is a startling jump from two months ago, when the entire state was first labeled as being in “severe” drought or worse.
The report cited shrinking reservoir levels, river gauges and groundwater observations as reasons for increasing the drought warning.
“California is short more than one year’s worth of reservoir water, or 11.6 million acre-feet, for this time of year,” meteorologist Brad Rippey wrote in the report.