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‘Exceptional Drought’ For Parts Of California

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Sonora, CA — Drought conditions intensified in parts of California over the past week, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

In its weekly update on Thursday, it detailed that areas of “exceptional drought,” the worst level, expanded in the southern and eastern Sierra Nevada in response to poor snowpack conditions.
As for the rest of the state, most are in the extreme or severe categories while other small sections on the far north coast and the two southernmost counties are in moderate drought.

On Monday, the drought emergency declaration for 41 of California’s 58 counties was expanded by Governor Gavin Newsom and he noted that further expansion is likely. That is a result of California’s winter rain and snowfall being far below normal with much of the snowmelt absorbed by the dry ground rather than running off into rivers and filling reservoirs. Currently, major reservoirs in the state are well below historical averages. In the Mother Lode, New Melones is at 59%, as can be seen on the graphic below:

Current Major Reservoir Conditions 5-14-21
DWR graphic

Just Wednesday, the state Department of Water Resources reported the water content of the snowpack was only 7% of normal to date.

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