California Drought Update and Comparison

With more and more questions along the lines of "Are we in a drought", below are several images from the Drought Monitor, today and historically. The first map is the latest issuance. followed by the map from the first week of January, The only significant difference is across a swath from the Big Sur Coast to Lake Tahoe which shifted down a category as a result of the Atmospheric River the last week of January.

More significant is the difference between today's Drought Monitor, after 2 dry years, and that from March 2013, in the 2nd year of what was to be a 4-year drought. In 2013, much of California was still "abnormally dry" (~50%) while today in 2021 it's less than 10%, with the remainder defined as drought. 

But for context, it's important to recognize that drought is more than just the amount of rainfall; and that it impacts different segments of the state's population and economy differently.  See Defining Drought...It's Not Just the Rainfall.

Jan Null, CCM
Certified Consulting Meteorologist
Golden Gate Weather Services
Twitter: @ggweather