Shocking picture captures extreme California drought

NASA is partnering with California to help the state better monitor and respond to severe drought.

Look at these images of Folsom lake, near Sacramento.

This is what it looked like in 2011, when the lake was at 97-percent capacity.

And this is what it looked like last month, at 17-percent capacity.  This year is shaping up to be one of its driest on record.

NASA will lend its remote sensing resources to help California water managers get better forecasts and information on drought conditions.

DROUGHT

It has been a month since Gov. Jerry Brown said the state was facing perhaps “the worst drought that California has ever seen since records (began) about 100 years ago.”

Currently, the whole state of California is “abnormally dry,” according to a weekly report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s a little worse than last week, when 98% of the state had that designation, the report said.

Brown has already urged Californians to cut back on water use. He’s already called for a voluntary 20% conservation effort statewide.

“It’s important to wake all Californians to the serious matter of the drought and lack of rain,” Brown said in January. “We are in an unprecedented, serious situation that people should pause and reflect on how we’re dependent on rain, Mother Nature and each other.”

The exact financial impact of the historic drought in California has yet to be calculated. But the financial blow could be in the billions of dollars, especially if the 2012 national drought is any indication. That disaster cost the country $30 billion, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

***Photo credit, California Dept. of Water Resources***

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