How bad is the California drought?
J Thoendell stashed this in California
Across California, from the manicured lawns of Beverly Hills to sun-baked farmers' fields, they are praying for rain this winter.
But "El Nino," the weather phenomenon which sometimes brings storms, will be "weak" and "offer little help" to the desperately parched state, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
"California's record-setting drought will likely persist or intensify in large parts of the state," the agency said. Recovery this winter is "highly unlikely".
The prediction is the latest grim news for California, where the governor has already declared a state of emergency and told everyone to cut water use by 20 per cent.
So how bad is the drought?
It's bad. It's in California so there is inevitably some hyperbole, with Governor Jerry Brown calling it "epochal" and some scientists claiming it's the worst since the 16th century. But data back up these concerns. The US Drought Monitor has four stages of drought - moderate, severe, extreme and exceptional. 100 per cent of California is in some sort of drought and 58 per cent of it is in the worst category, exceptional.