California driest in 136 years

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click image to zoomDrought MonitorThe Drought Monitor map, released on Jan. 2, 2014. More than half of the country is abnormally dry or worse, according to the latest Drought Monitor report released on Thursday. Few states are left untouched by the drought, but the worst remains centered in the West.

In California, conditions remain virtually unchanged for yet another week, marking the 35th consecutive week that at least 94 percent of the state is reported in moderate or worse drought. And no relief is in sight during the first quarter of 2014.

It's a gamble to predict the impact of the drought.

"It is like going to Reno. You put your money down and see what happens," Butte County (Calif.) agricultual commissioner Richard Price says in an article here.

So, just how dry was California in 2013? According to the Associated Press, it was the driest the state has seen in 136 years. Los Angeles was down 15 inches in precipitation for the year; San Francisco around 18 inches below normal.

click image to zoomDrought Monitor "It's been pitiful," said Bob Benjamin, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Monterey, Calif. "It's a concern, but we do have several months to catch up."

See the images to the right to see how California turned from green to brown in just one year.

The drought is stretching water resources tight, which doesn’t bode well for the state’s agricultural producers.  Read more here.

However ,as WebProNews points, forecasters still cling to the hope that past weather trends will repeat itself. Often dry Decembers have led to storms at the first of the year.

State climatologist Michael Anderson said, “Or we can get a miracle March that bails us out a little bit.”

See, “California Drought: The Driest in Over 130 Years.”

The drought also spread to other states in the West, including Oregon and Washington.

Click here to read the full Drought Monitor report.

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