California Drought Levels

The latest U.S. Drought Map shows the level of drought in California remains unchanged. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

By Veronica Rocha
August 14, 2014

After months of worsening drought across California, conditions appear to have leveled off, at least for now.

According to the latest assessment released Thursday, more than 80% of California continues to suffer extreme drought conditions — a figure that has remained unchanged now for roughly two weeks. Things had been on a steady march toward worse, pushing more than half of California to the most severe level of drought for the first time since the federal government began issuing regular drought reports in the late 1990s.

Despite recent thunderstorms, 58% of California continues to experience “exceptional” drought — the harshest on a five-level scale. Nearly 82% of the state, meanwhile, is experiencing “extreme” drought, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map.

“It was seasonably dry along the West Coast, with measurable precipitation limited to parts of the Sierra Nevada and northeastern California,” according to Richard Tinker, who authored the latest map. “To wit, areas of dryness and drought remained unchanged.”

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