Two of the most severe droughts in recent history — California now and Texas in 2011 and 2012 — are immediately obvious when graphed. And seen that way, it's not clear that we should expect California's drought to end any time soon.
At this point, all of California is in a state of drought — as it has been for seven of the past nine weeks. (Wondering how the government figures this out? We have you covered.) Over that time, the drought has intensified.
What's worse, as Mashable reports, its already-thin snowpack has melted faster than expected. That snowpack is like a savings account for the state, holding winter precipitation in higher, cooler temperatures to melt and keep California hydrated during the hot summers. On April 1, Andrew Freeman writes, the water content of the state's snowpack was at 32 percent the norm. In the past week, thanks to above-average temperatures, half of the water equivalent of the snowpack in the vital Sierra Nevada mountains had already melted.
As Freeman notes, California isn't alone in experiencing drought. According to the USDA Drought Monitor, 70 percent of the American west is experiencing some level of drought, rated on a scale from D0 to D4. In California, though, it's at its worst, with almost a quarter of the state at the highest level of drought.