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California Drought To Persist, Even Worsen

Oct 16, 2014

Credit National Weather Service - Hanford

Predictions suggest the California drought is likely to persist, and even worsen in some areas. Ed Joyce reports from Sacramento.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center says complete drought recovery is "unlikely this winter' in California.

Kevin Werner is NOAA's Western Region Climate Director.

He says the 2012-to-2014 period is the driest on record in California.

And low reservoir storage reflects that.

"On August 31st, the 154 largest reservoirs in the state held about 13.5 million acre feet of water, that's about 57 percent of average for that date and only 36 percent of capacity."

Werner says Shasta Reservoir, the state's largest, is at only 25 percent of capacity.

The forecast predicts the drought will be less severe in the southern and northwestern parts of the state, but that improvement won't happen until December or January.

Even then, Werner says, any precipitation won't be enough to make up for three straight years of drought. 

NOAA forecasters did add that other outcomes are possible, but "less likely."