California’s Drought Just Got Absolutely Terrifying

In the past week the portion of California suffering from exceptional drought jumped from 36 percent to nearly 60 percent.

(Photo: Courtesy U.S. Drought Monitor)

Jul 31, 2014· 0 MIN READ
Todd Woody is TakePart's editorial director, environment.

The map of drought-stricken California is starting to look like something out of a horror movie: A dark blob is inexorably spreading across the state, sucking reservoirs dry and leaving catastrophic wildfires in its wake.

The blob represents the percentage of the state classified by the U.S. Drought Monitor as being in exceptional drought—the most severe category. Over the past week, the blob conquered Northern California as the percentage of the state in exceptional drought spiked from 36 percent to 58 percent.

The map above was released today and shows drought conditions as of Tuesday. The map below represents the state of the drought just a week ago.

Drought California

“California is short more than one year’s worth of reservoir water, or 11.6 million acre-feet, for this time of year,” the Drought Monitor report states.

That’s the equivalent of 3.8 trillion gallons.

It’s no coincidence that firefighters are battling two huge blazes in Northern California, one of which threatens a grove of giant ancient sequoias in Yosemite National Park.

The map below puts the California crisis in a national context.

US Drought Moniter Conus

Not a moment too soon: Statewide water rationing takes effect on Friday, restricting lawn watering and car washing on pain of a $500-a-day penalty.