The state of California is in the midst of its third straight year of drought, mired in a water supply rut after a meager wet season during the winter. The entire state is in some stage of drought, with 77% of the state suffering from "extreme" to "exceptional" drought conditions, the two worst categories according to the newest U.S. Drought Monitor data released Thursday.
Now that the thin mountain snowpack left over from the winter has melted, the drought is intensifying and contributing to heightened wildfire concerns.
According to the new data, the portion of the state in exceptional drought increased during the past week, from about 25% of the state on June 10 to about 33% on June 17. Exceptional drought now covers the main agricultural areas of central California, Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay area.