Calif. officials see ‘scary’ drought outlook

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click image to zoomDrought MonitorThe Drought Monitor map released on Jan. 9, 2014. One-third of the nation is in drought, marking what could be another dry year for states desperate for precipitation.

In the latest Drought Monitor, the National Drought Mitigation Center shows that the worst of the drought remains in the West. The situation is especially dire in California, where state water officials are concerned about going into their third dry winter.

"It's scary, to put it bluntly," David Guy, president of the Northern California Water Association, told News 10 reporters.  "It's the combination that the reservoirs are at all-time-low levels as well as the fact that we simply do not have inflow coming into the reservoirs."

Currently 94 percent of the state is in moderate or worse drought, marking the 36th consecutive week at least 94 percent of the state is reported in these conditions.

“There seems to be no relief in sight as the calendar flips over to 2014,” Drought Monitor author Mark Svoboda, said in narrative. “[C]oncern for water supply, fire and other impacts grows each week the rains and snows don’t come. In fact, many locations in California reported the calendar year 2013 as being the driest on record, smashing previous prior record dry years, including 1976. “

According to The Atlantic, the current snowpack is hovering below the 20 percent average for this time of year, and if the current trend holds, state water managers may only be able to deliver 5 percent of water needed for more than 25 million Californians and a million acres of farmland.

Read, “A Grim Map of California's Drought.”

Catholic bishops have also stepped in to help, asking people of all faiths to join in prayer for rain. In a news release, the California Catholic Conference of Bishops offered sample prayers for those interested in praying for rain.

Click here to read more from the Drought Monitor.

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