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Latest Drought Maps, News, In Triple-digit Heat

Sacramento, CA — As the latest maps already show increasingly more of the Golden State in off-the-charts dark red, many parts, including the Mother Lode hit triple digits today; without a doubt fueling continued extended drought impacts, including fire danger.

The latest figures show more than 37 million people across California are being affected by the drought and more than 98 percent of the state is now considered under moderate through exceptional drought conditions. As reported today, the short-range forecast calls more for increased dry lightning danger from potential thunderstorms over the weekend, than actual rainfall.

New Melones Lake, now at 17 percent of capacity and 27 percent of its historic average, remains among the state’s lowest-level reservoirs. Don Pedro currently sits at 38 percent of capacity and 48 percent of its historic average; Folsom Lake, respectively at 47 and 57 percent. Overall, the state’s major reservoirs are at 40 percent of capacity, about 53 percent of their total average. For the latest related graphics, click in the upper left image box.

Today, providing some relief, relative to the current state of the drought, the state legislature unanimously approved AB1, which aims to protect residents who allow their lawns go brown. Now awaiting Governor Jerry Brown’s anticipated signature, the bill prohibits local governments from fining residents who choose to conserve water by not watering lawns. The governor has already prohibited homeowner associations from punitive actions against residents who scale back their landscaping, and most recently mandated conservation standards across the state that, for some, are as high as 36 percent, compared to 2013 levels.

As the Western Governors’ Association met this week in Nevada, where the extended drought conditions and impacts has been the lead agenda topic, the NOAA-led National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) announced a new resource center to help state and local governments improve their response to the drought. Called the Drought Risk Management Research Center (DRMRC), the new facility is located at the National Drought Mitigation Center on campus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.