More Than a Quarter of California Mired in 'Exceptional' Drought

Image: Statewide Drought Forces Californians To Take Drastic Measures For Water Conversation
Water drips from a pipe into an irrigation channel on Feb. 25 in Firebaugh, Calif. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Trumping the temporary relief Californians were feeling as rain finally fell on the state, the federal government reported Thursday that the area afflicted with the most drastic drought conditions has nearly doubled in a week.

New figures from the U.S. Drought Monitor show 26 percent of California is mired in "exceptional drought," the highest designation the U.S. Department of Agriculture has. That's up from about 14 percent a week ago.

More than 90 percent of the state is mired in severe drought or worse, according to the report.

Gov. Jerry Brown and other leaders passed legislation on Thursday that will provide $687 million to support drought relief through water, food, housing and ways to conserve the water.

This weekend, the Bay Area is expected to see about two inches of rain, and a few feet of snow should be coming to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Since last July, it has only rained a little less than six inches in San Francisco, and the $44.7 billion agriculture industry in California is at risk with such conditions.