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California governor proclaims drought emergency
California governor proclaims drought emergency with state in its 3rd dry year
By JASON DEAREN
Associated Press
2014-01-18 03:01 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- California's governor has proclaimed a drought emergency in the most populous U.S. state, allowing it to seek federal aid during its third dry year.

Jerry Brown made the announcement Friday.

The U.S. Drought Monitor has reported extreme drought conditions in central and northern California. Precipitation in most of the state is less than 20 percent of normal, and reservoirs are dwindling. Forecasts suggest the dry spell could continue, exacerbating the already high fire danger.

Other states in the West also are facing dry conditions.

The proclamation allows California to request a broad emergency declaration from President Barack Obama, which would expedite some water transfers, provide financial assistance and suspend some state and federal regulations.

He spoke against the backdrop of a chart with statewide average precipitation by year dating back to 1970 and a satellite image of California in January 2013 and January 2014 side by side that showed the state's dwindling snowpack.

The U.S. Drought Monitor has reported extreme drought conditions in central and northern California, and there has been little snowfall so far this winter.

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