That California sunshine has grown dangerous. While parts of the US are battling major blizzards, California has stayed dangerously dry this season, suffering through a drought that's lasted three years. In mid-January, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state emergency, calling it "perhaps the worst drought that California has ever seen since records began about 100 years ago." To put the effects in perspective, the snow levels in the Sierra Nevada mountains are at only 12 percent of the average level, and wildfires have broken out in areas that are typically wet this time of year.
So what, exactly, does that mean? For one thing, the state's agriculture is seriously suffering, with more than 200,000 acres of land going unplanted in Fresno County, because farmers don't have the water to support the plants. Reservoirs across California are dry, with rocky shores and artifacts from old towns suddenly visible. As the drought effects continue, several areas are enforcing water-use limitations, with cities like Santa Cruz banning restaurants from giving their guests drinking water unless it's requested. Take a look at these shocking photos for some insight into the severity of California's drought.