The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday shows that 9.5% of California is considered to be in moderate drought. The abnormally dry area, which includes the drought area, has expanded from about 34% to 46%.
The dry area on the new map has spread southward to include most of Los Angeles County, much of Kern and San Luis Obispo counties and all of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
A large patch in the central part of the state is now in moderate drought. It stretches from Tuolumne and Mono counties south through Mariposa, Madera, Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties into north-central Kern County.
Coastal California north of San Francisco and swaths of interior Northern California, as well as the southeastern part of the state, including San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, San Diego and Imperial counties, are in the 53.9% of the state that aren’t categorized as being in drought conditions.
February, which is normally the wettest month of the year in Los Angeles, has been dry like January before it, and the prospect for rain before the month draws to a close looks dim, according to forecasts.