VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - The National Weather Service out of Los Angeles/Oxnard issued an update on extreme drought conditions continuing in portions of southwestern California.
In a nutshell: expect decreasing groundwater levels, heightened wildfire concerns and more wildlife venturing down from our mountains in search of water.
Weather experts say the Golden State has experienced two below average rainfall seasons which have dropped reservoir levels and left vegetation drier than usual earlier in the year.
The weather update explains that little to no precipitation is expected until later this fall. And the chance that enough rain will fall to make major improvements to water levels is extremely low.
Historically, December through February are the wettest months.
The State Water Project, operated by the California Department of Water Resources, projects they will only be able to deliver 35% of the water allocations this year because of the well below average snowpack over the past two winters.
In terms of rainfall totals, Santa Barbara County averaged 47% of normal countywide.
Gibraltar Reservoir experienced the driest year ever on record (more than 94 years of record); Cachuma and Cuyama experienced the second driest year on record; Carpinteria, Santa Ynez and Los Alamos experienced the third driest years on record.
Gibralter Reservoir in Santa Barbara County is currently at 8% of its storage capacity -- it's lowest level since 1991. Jameson is also at its lowest storage level -- 34% -- since 1991.
Cachuma Reservoir is currently at 49% of its storage capacity -- the lowest level since 2004.
Lake Nacimiento in San Luis Obispo County is only at 36% of its storage capacity.
NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) weather experts do not expect widespread precipitation over southern California for the "foreseeable future."
The next drought update will be issued in mid October, or sooner, if necessary.