98 Percent of California Still at 'Severe' Drought Level or Worse

Monday, 18 Aug 2014 07:34 PM

By Greg Richter

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Even though California's drought is no longer worsening, 98 percent of the state is at least at the "Severe" level, the third worst on a five-point scale.

In May, 100 percent of the state was in the "Severe" category or worse, according to the U.S Drought Monitor.

Almost 82 percent of the state is in the second-highest "Extreme Drought" level and more than 58 percent is in the highest "Exceptional Drought" category.

The worst of the drought is in the north-central area of the state.

Californians have faced fines as strict water restrictions have been put in place over the past month, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Santa Cruz is even allowing first-time offenders to attend classes instead of paying a fine, much like traffic school, the paper reports.

Hopes of a wet El Nino weather event to ease the drought have dimmed, with the chances now down to about 65 percent, forecasters say.

California's drought cycle could become longer and more frequent as the climate warms, The Washington Post reports, and there doesn't seem to be any relief in sight.

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