By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Southern California appears to be in the grips of yet another period of serious drought conditions.

Both Los Angeles and Ventura counties have been placed in the severe drought category of the U.S. Drought Monitor. According to the latest map released April 8, both counties were upgraded from moderate to severe.

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Downtown L.A. has received no rain so far this month. Since the rainy season started Oct. 1, L.A. has received just 5.8 inches of rain, according to CBSLA Meteorologist Amber Lee.

For this time of year, downtown L.A. should be at about 13.86 inches.

“We still need more than 8 inches of rain just to close that gap to get us just to normal,” Lee explained Wednesday.

Southern California pulled out of its most recent drought in April of 2020 thanks to a series of storms. Last year, it experienced one of the driest January and February combinations on record.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is released weekly as part of partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the USDA. The next map will be released Thursday morning.

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Last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state plans to hire about 1,400 extra seasonal firefighters ahead of what could be another major fire season.

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Do to the drought conditions, state officials have begun preparing in earnest earlier than normal. On Tuesday, Newsom signed a $536 million wildfire preparedness package designed to speed up the state’s response.