To climb out of the bottom 20% bracket for 5-year precipitation totals, precipitation in the upcoming water year must be 135-160% of normal in northern California, 160% of normal in the Southeast, and 198% of normal in the San Joaquin Valley.
Government officials have already announced a potential water rationing program as well as expected blackouts to conserve electricity in case rains do not pick up. If they don’t, Brazil is almost certainly facing its driest back-to-back rainy seasons in at least 35 years.
Millions of people in southern Africa depend on monsoon rains that begin around November and last until March or April. If the monsoon is erratic, millions of people can suffer. So far in 2014-2015, the monsoon in southeastern Africa has been anything but normal.
Since we last covered the California drought, conditions in the state have stayed, well, dry—very dry. Statewide, total precipitation is about equal to or below the lowest three-year period since 1895.
A few storms found their way to the drought-stricken California coast late this winter, but they barely made a dent in the state's huge water deficits. As the North Pacific winter storm season recedes, there is little likelihood for substantial drought recovery.