BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Bad news: this morning's U.S. Drought Monitor Report shows all of Kern County is now in D3 "extreme drought" status.
Our last change was on Thursday, April 22, when all the mountain communities & east side of the valley turned extreme, but the west side of the valley had remained in severe status.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor Report: "On this week’s maps, areas of drought expanded across California, Oregon, and Washington following a very dry April. In California, areas of Extreme Drought (D3) expanded across the northern and central Sierra Nevada, as well as in areas of the San Joaquin Valley where water deliveries have been severely reduced due to the poor snowpack conditions across the Sierra (59% of normal on April 1 statewide) and below normal reservoir conditions. For the Water Year (since October 1), precipitation across most of California has been much below normal (bottom 10th percentile) with some locations—including areas of southeastern California, and the greater Bay Area—experiencing record or near-record dryness. In Marin County, the Marin Water District declared a water shortage emergency on April 20 in response to Marin’s total reservoir storage level dipping to 50% of capacity, whereas average storage for the date (May 4) is normally 90% of capacity. California’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville, were at 50% and 42% of normal, respectively, on May 4. Across the region, statewide reservoir storage levels were below normal in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Washington according to the NRCS on April 1. On the Colorado River system, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (May 5) is reporting Lake Mead at 38% of capacity while upstream Lake Powell is 35% full. In Oregon, drought-related conditions continue to deteriorate in western Oregon after a dry April. On the map, areas of D1 to D4 expanded in Oregon this week in response to a rapid decline of the mountain snowpack across the Cascades in addition to anomalously dry soils and well-below-normal streamflow levels. For the week, average temperatures were above normal (2 to 10 deg F) across most of the West, with the exception of areas of southeastern Arizona and southern New Mexico where temperatures were 2 to 9 deg F below normal."