483 59 8 LINKEDIN 10 COMMENTMORE

You might think there's nothing more extreme than extreme drought.

You'd be wrong.

Those experts on parched earth that produce the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor have yet one worse classification for extended periods of low rainfall, dried-out soil, and low reservoir levels: exceptional drought.

And 58% of California falls into that category, the Drought Monitor said in its weekly update this week.

Super-dry conditions have been building since the winter, when sunny January days translated into record-low rainfall. They're behind recently implemented water restrictions, and the backdrop for wildfires that have started to flare in Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada foothills.

It's bad, it'll probably get worse, and people are just tuning into how little in back-up supplies there are. If the statistics and brown hills don't drive the point home, this map does.

The maroon is exceptional drought, the red is extreme drought, which covers 82% of the state. The right side is from the Drought Monitor's July 29 report. The left is from July 1. A year ago, most of the map was yellow — that is, three levels better off.

Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1rXt4bi