California continues to dry up. The latest figures indicate more than 80% of the state is in extreme drought, or worse, exceptional drought. These are sobering numbers, to be sure, but for an even better perspective on the drought's unprecedented progression, check out this GIF, created by L.A. Times reader Alvaro Valiño.
Each frame of the animation is a snapshot of weekly drought conditions in California, as recorded by the U.S. Drought Monitor. By combining close to 200 of these snapshots, the GIF provides a quick, week-to-week visualization of the state's ever-worsening situation that extends all the way back to 2011 – the last time California's drought map was clear.
Some additional perspective: Back in January, California declared a state of emergency when the escalating drought left the state with half the rainfall of the lowest rainfall year on record. Here's what the state looked like at the time (click to enlarge):
Three months later, during the week of April 22nd, California's drought reached a new, terrible milestone when the entire state became impacted by drought:
At that point in April, just shy of 25% of the state was in exceptional drought. Fast forward to this week, when that number reached close to 60%:
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, conditions in California are not projected to improve in the near future. 2014 could be an El Niño year, but heavy rains after a dry spell this severe could bring with them a new set of issues. What impact will this have on those of us in California? What about the rest of the country? Speaking of – here's the latest drought map for the rest of the country. Look at California, glowing crimson: