Northern and Central California typically receive 30% to 40% of their precipitation over the next three months, but this year, forecasters say the upper two-thirds of the state can expect to miss out on much of that badly needed moisture.
The lack of significant rain will mean little relief for thousands of firefighters battling a series of destructive wildfires in Northern California, although a weather system is expected to bring some showers to the region later this week.
And even if an El Niño weather pattern does develop later this year, it is only expected to deliver below-median rainfall for Northern California, according to U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook from the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center.
Until then, Anthony Artusa, the meteorologist who created the outlook, described California's drought forecast for the next three months as persistent and intense.
Prolonged drought has been a major factor behind the stubborn growth of wildfires that have pockmarked Northern and Central California. One of the largest, the King fire, has been burning in Eldorado National Forest in an area that was lush and unscorched for two decades — a possible reason why the fire has been moving so rapidly, officials say.
Some good news in the report: Drought conditions are expected to improve somewhat for the southern third of California.
Conservation efforts statewide have taken on new vigor, with residents letting their lawns go brown to popular tourist attractions, like The Getty, draining their pools and other water features.
In July, California reduced its water use by 7.5%, down more than 17 billion gallons from the same period last year, according to the state Water Resources Control Board.