By Jason Wells
April 25, 2014, 6:53 a.m.
A prolonged period of below-average rainfall has put the entire state of California under some level of drought, ranging in severity from moderate to exceptional, for the first time in 15 years.
The latest drought monitor released by the National Climatic Data Center this week shows that the entire state is under moderate drought conditions, but within that map, 76.6% of the state is experiencing extreme drought conditions, and for 24.7% of the state, the level of dryness is “exceptional.”
During the same period last year, none of the state was considered to be under extreme or exceptional drought conditions, and just 30% fell under the “severe” category, according to the assessment released Thursday.
“This is a really serious situation here in California and people need to be cognizant of that and start conserving water as much as they can,” said Jayme Laber, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service who is part of a team of scientists who contribute to the weekly drought monitor.
The lack of substantial precipitation over the last three rain seasons has affected every part of the state, “some worse than others,” Laber said.
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