Drought continues to worsen even as more rain arrives

February storms brought a welcome change to Northern California's extremely dry weather. Even though the month is ending with above normal rainfall, the state's drought conditions persist.

The latest look at the Drought Monitor shows 26 percent of the state is in Exceptional Drought, up 12 percent from last month. This is the most severe drought category. The areas in this category have expanded along the central coast, north to San Francisco and east to the Central and Southern valley.

The area covered in Extreme Drought is now up to 73 percent of the state. The result is continued restrictions on water usage and preparing for little water this summer.

Another key indicator of California's continued drought is the lack of Sierra snow. One third of the water for cities and farms comes from the Sierra snow melt. The third snow survey of the year showed the state snowpack is only 24 percent of normal for the date.

The Department of Water Resources sends surveyors into the Sierra around the first of the month from January through May to take manual readings to check the accuracy of electronic readings.


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