The drought in California as seen from space. The lack of snow at Lake Tahoe and in the Sierras is pronounced.
The drought has gone beyond "severe" in much of California.
The historic lack of rain has translated into a stark lack of snow in the Sierra Mountains, a satellite image from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows.
Take a look at the two California maps, from January of 2013 and then this January. This month's extremely dry conditions come after parts of California experienced their driest year on record in 2013, according to the National Weather Service.
As if an epically-dry December wasn't bad enough, January records for bone-dry weather could be broken if the forecast for no rain holds up.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency on Friday, calling it perhaps the worst drought since records began in California.
He asked everyone to cut long showers short and stop watering their lawns.
On Thursday, California was one of 11 states with counties declared to be primary natural disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The U.S. Drought Monitor produces a weekly map of the country showing the areas hardest hit by lack of precipitation.
In the current version, the majority of our state is listed as its second most severe category “Extreme Drought” second only to “Exceptional Drought.”
The designation means eligible farmers in those counties can qualify for low-interest emergency loans from the department.