This year national weather and climate forecasters said they saw a La Niña condition developing in the Pacific, and promised dryness, as they did last year. This year, for virtually all of California, and much of the nation as well, they've been right.
Here's the drought forecast, in a graphic from NOAA [National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration]:
Yes, that's 500 million trees, as reported last week in the Houston Chronicle.
Here's a startling image from Jeff Masters' astounding Wunderblog, showing exactly how dry it's been in the country and virtually the entirety of California this past week..
The forecast concludes:
The latest GFS model forecast predicts that this unusually dry pattern will persist for at least the next ten days, with the possibility of it breaking down during the last week of January.
At least Texas got some rain, thanks to "a highly abnormal jet stream pattern that is keeping the northern polar branch of the jet stream far to the north in Canada."