All of San Joaquin County, and 58 percent of the state, is now considered to be in a state of “exceptional” drought, federal officials said today.

That’s the most severe of five categories.

Until today, only the southern and western portions of the county were classified as “exceptional” by the U.S. Drought Monitor. New maps have greatly expanded that area.

Officials said it is increasingly clear that conditions are not any better in Northern California than they are in Southern California.

Total water storage in the state’s reservoirs is about 17.3 million acre-feet, they said, about 60 percent of average. The state is short more than one year’s worth of reservoir water after drawing down reservoirs more than usual in 2012 and 2013, according to the Drought Monitor’s analysis (click on California tab on right).

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    Alex Breitler

    A native of Benicia, he lives in Stockton with his wife, Ann, who forces him to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada or Trinity Alps at every opportunity. He has been writing mostly about natural resources since 2003, first in Redding and now in ... Read Full
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