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.
Maps of precipitation deficits through January show California mountain areas generally have greater deficits than lower elevations, and Southern California with larger deficits than areas to the north. The drought outlook for February remained grim.
The most populated state in the country is facing what may be its worst drought in a century of record-keeping. On January 20, the governor of California declared a state of emergency, urging everyone to begin conserving water.