Scenes From the California Drought

An unprecedented 82 percent of California is in an “extreme drought,” according to a 2014 U.S. Drought Monitor report. Of that, 58 percent of the state is in an “exceptional drought” — the driest conditions possible. Record-low rainfall has sent rivers, lakes and water reservoirs to their lowest levels in decades—threatening the water supply of many cities. The unusually dry conditions have increased the risk of wildfires, which have already ravaged parts of the state — most recently an area near Yosemite National Park. But the drought’s biggest victim could be California’s Central Valley, the source of fully half the nation’s fruits and vegetables, where roughly 500,000 acres of farmland have been left barren this season because of a lack of water. In three of the hardest-hit counties — Fresno, Kern and Tulare — farmers are worried the drought could drive them out of business. (Photos by Holly Bailey/Yahoo News)

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