Just how bad is California’s drought? According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), it's worse than excpected.
According to NASA, the state is now behind by an entire year’s worth of rain.
The latest Drought Monitor shows 71 percent of the state is currently in extreme or worse drought, unchanged from last week.
To put this into perspective: federal forecasters expect a strong El Niño to continue through at least the winter, which would likely increase the amount of rain that reaches California. However, it will take several years of higher than normal rain and snowfall to fully recover from the drought. Click here to read more.
Other states battling drought
California isn’t the only state fighting drought nor is it even the state with the highest percentage of drought. Further to the north, Oregon and Washington are waging their own battles.
Here is how their drought is stacking up and impact is having on the states:
- Oregon: More than two-thirds (67 percent) of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought, 17 percentage points higher than last week’s report. Earlier this week, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a drought emergency in Linn County. This declaration brings the number of Oregon counties in drought emergency up to 24, representing 66 percent of the state's counties. According to the Seattle Times, by mid-August wildfires destroyed thousands of acres in Eastern Oregon.
- Washington: Drought in Washington has literally exploded over the last week, jumping from 51 percent in extreme or exceptional drought to 85 percent in just one week’s time. The Washington Department of Ecology shows that the state’s rivers and streams are at historic low flows with more than 28 percent reporting the lowest in 64 years of record keeping. In addition to its devastating wildfires, called a “slow-motion disaster” by Gov. Jay Inslee, the state is also at increased risk for dust storms. Read more here.
The Weather Channel reports the last time the states saw measurable rain was in May. To put this into perspective: even Death Valley, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz. – two of the driest locations in the country – have been wetter.