This May 20 U.S. Drought Monitor Map shows that nearly all of California is in extreme or exceptional drought.
Hay growers and other California residents had kept their fingers crossed that a melting snowpack this spring and summer would replenish the state’s reservoirs. But their hopes were dashed earlier this month when the state’s Department of Water Resources issued a report on its year-end snow survey.
“Today’s final snow survey of the year found more bare ground than snow as California faces another long, hot summer after a near-record dry winter,” the report says.
The May 1 survey showed the snowpack, which provides about one-third of the state’s water, at a “mere 18%” of average for the date. “With most of the wet season behind us, it is highly unlikely late-season storms will significantly dampen the effects of the three-year drought on parched farms or communities.”
At mid-month, the U.S. Drought Monitor showed that more than 75% of California was suffering extreme drought, a 17% increase from that gauged in February. Nearly 25% of the state was experiencing exceptional drought, up 15% from three months earlier.