As California drought worsens, people urged to conserve; prices expected to rise at grocery store

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — It seems “the worst drought that California has ever seen” has become even worse.

It has been a month since Gov. Jerry Brown said the state was facing perhaps “the worst drought that California has ever seen since records (began) about 100 years ago.”

New numbers released Thursday are painting an even dimmer picture.

Currently, the whole state of California is “abnormally dry,” according to a weekly report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s a little worse than last week, when 98% of the state had that designation, the report said.

Brown has already urged Californians to cut back on water use. He’s already called for a voluntary 20% conservation effort statewide.

“It’s important to wake all Californians to the serious matter of the drought and lack of rain,” Brown said in January. “We are in an unprecedented, serious situation that people should pause and reflect on how we’re dependent on rain, Mother Nature and each other.”

President Barack Obama was in California last week announcing a new federal initiative aimed at helping farms and communities.

The exact financial impact of the historic drought in California has yet to be calculated. But the financial blow could be in the billions of dollars, especially if the 2012 national drought is any indication. That disaster cost the country $30 billion, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

Related: Bloomberg reports on the grocery store items that may rise in price because of the drought

CNN’s Dave Hennen contributed to this report.

Feb 11, 2014 California Drought Monitor

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