Approximately 93% of the state of California is experiencing “severe drought,” with 67% experiencing “extreme” drought and 40% “exceptional” drought—the most severe drought classification (see Figure 1). Although winter months have brought some precipitation, January 2015 was the driest January on record. California’s Central Valley agricultural region remains in exceptional drought. The 2014 water year ended September 30 as the third-driest year on record in terms of precipitation. Previously, precipitation during winter and spring 2013 was the lowest on record, leaving water storage reservoirs unusually low. Water deliveries to water districts receiving water from federal and state facilities in 2014 were cut due to hydrological and regulatory factors. Some areas relying on groundwater saw wells go dry. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts below-normal precipitation again for the coming months due to the projected reappearance of a high-pressure ridge following early February storms (known as “Pineapple Express”).
Date of Report: February 12, 2015
Order Number: IF10133
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