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The new information is in from the US Drought Monitor and it is horrible news for California. They rank droughts by terms like Severe, Extreme and Exceptional for the top level drought.

Watch how the drought in California has spread in all regions from January - July 2014

As of today, 58% of the state is in the top level drought designation and that is a big jump from the 36% number with the last update. The area that saw the increase is for Valley locations in Northern California, Sacramento included.

It's true that we don't expect much rain in July so the pure rainfall to drought calculus isn't really applicable here. According to the National Weather Service in Sacramento, there are other factors that go into the calculation and no single event or lack of event changed the designation.

It's more of an accumulation of overall conditions in the area to degrade the drought status.

From this point on in the summer, we really don't expect significant rain or snow until October at the earliest so it will be at least two more months of top level drought before we could possibly see any change.

Realistically it would take very heavy, very early rain to see any major change in the drought and that is unlikely at this point. I look to the early spring for the most realistic time frame we could expect any meaningful changes in drought conditions with the addition of seasonal rain, and spring runoff.

In short, I would expect the same water restrictions, and recommendations to continue well into early 2015.

Rob Carlmark

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