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California record drought: 58 percent of state in 'exceptional drought' (+video)

California record drought has spread across 58 percent of the state. Northern California is now in about as bad shape as the rest of the state in the now three-year California record drought.

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A sign alerts visitors to water conservation efforts at the state Capitol, in Sacramento, Calif., earlier this month. The California record drought has spread to 58 percent of the state, according to latest figures.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP/File

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Federal drought monitors say 58 percent of California now is locked in their highest category of drought.

That ranking Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor marks a 22-percent, one-week jump in California territory suffering what monitors call "exceptional drought."

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Climate monitors say those latest figures show Northern California is in about as bad shape as the rest of the state in the now three-year drought.

Recommended:US climate change report: What lies ahead for your region?

Exceptional drought is classified as featuring widespread loss of crops and pasture. The category also signifies water shortages in streams and reservoirs severe enough to make for a water emergency.


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