California suffering through driest three years ever recorded, with no relief in sight.
The last three years have been the driest on record in the U.S., according to new figures released by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Rainfall during the drought has fallen below normal levels for four consecutive years, the agency said. The last time it was this bad was 1979, when the driest year on record was just one week shorter.
“We haven’t had this severe a drought since the 1930s,” NOAA said in a statement. “It’s the longest drought on record on the West Coast and the driest in California.”
More: California’s drought to last ‘forever’
Dry conditions are now impacting the California landscape.
“The dryness is also extending to the southern California coast, bringing very long stretches of dry weather here for the foreseeable future,” said Michael Connolly, head of climate monitoring for NOAA’s Western Rain and Forecast Center.
The last time this much dry weather was recorded in California was 2012, the agency said. Scientists attribute the prolonged drought to climate change, which has seen the state experience a 20 percent drop in average annual rainfall.
“Climate change has made California one of the driest regions in the world,” Connolly told Sky News.
The drought has also impacted agricultural production. California is the country’s largest agricultural state. Nearly 50% of the state’s crops rely on irrigation.
“California is already suffering from the dryness and drought conditions,” USDA Deputy Regional Forester for the Northwest region, Tom Dickson, told the Washington Examiner. “Without good moisture there won’t be harvests or yields.”
‘We’re dealing with the same problem that we’ve had since the 1950s’
Farmers in California are facing an ongoing drought. This drought is much different from the one that impacted the state in the early 2000s, said Ben Haney, spokesman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
“Dry conditions since the start of 2017 are now about 10 percent different than the conditions of the drought that hit California in the early 2000s,” Haney said.
“We’re dealing with the