SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Federal drought monitors say 58 percent of California now is locked in their highest category of drought.
That ranking Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor marks a 22-percent, one-week jump in California territory suffering what monitors call "exceptional drought."
Climate monitors say those latest figures show Northern California is in about as bad shape as the rest of the state in the now three-year drought.
Exceptional drought is classified as featuring widespread loss of crops and pasture. The category also signifies water shortages in streams and reservoirs severe enough to make for a water emergency.