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California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to reporters in Los Angeles in September. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom extended a drought emergency declaration to cover the entire state on Tuesday.

Why it matters: "California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s, as measured by both lack of precipitation and high temperatures," per a statement from the governor's office. This past August was the driest and hottest one on record, "and the water year that ended last month was the second driest on record," the statement added.

Of note: Newsom's new proclamation enables the State Water Resources Control Board to ban wasteful water practices, including the use of potable water for washing sidewalks and driveways.

What he's saying: "As the Western U.S. faces a potential third year of drought, it's critical that Californians across the state redouble our efforts to save water in every way possible," Newsom said in a statement.

The big picture: In April, Newsom declared an emergency executive order for two California counties due to drought. By May, he extended it to cover 41 counties. Now, all of the state's 58 counties are covered by the declaration.

  • In July, the governor asked state residents to voluntarily reduce household water usage by 15% as drought conditions worsened. State Water Resources Control Board data released Tuesday showed there was a 5% reduction in urban water use compared to 2020, per the governor's office.
  • Studies show human-caused climate change is driving an increase in the likelihood and severity of droughts and heat waves and, consequently, wildfires, per Axios' Andrew Freedman.

By the numbers: Firefighters have battled more than 8,000 fires that have razed nearly 2.5 million acres of land, Cal Fire data shows.

Go deeper: California's nightmare summer

Editor's note: This article has been updated with further context on climate change's role in the extreme weather and fire conditions.

Go deeper

Extreme weather outruns the world

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pace and severity of climate change are simply outrunning humans' efforts to contain it.

The big picture: Severe flooding hit Canada and the Pacific Northwest before the ink was even dry on the climate agreements reached last week at the COP26 summit. And the extreme weather caused by climate change will continue to worsen, even if every one of those new commitments is met.

Deadly Pacific Northwest flooding seen from space

Runoff (dark brown) on Tuesday pours into the waters surrounding Vancouver, Canada, and Bellingham, in Washington state, after heavy rains and mountain snowmelt led to deadly flooding. Photo: NASA Worldview

Flooding from the deadly Pacific Northwest storm is so severe, it can be seen from space, according to images captured by NASA on Tuesday.

The big picture: At least one person has died and Canada's largest port was cut off by flood waters after the intense "atmospheric river event" slammed the region, bringing with it record-shattering rainfall and damaging winds, and triggering evacuations. Thousands of people were still without power on Wednesday morning.

45 mins ago - World

Olaf Scholz sworn in as German chancellor, succeeding Merkel

Incoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is sworn in by Bundestag President Bärbel Bas in Berlin today. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Social Democrat Olaf Scholz was sworn in as chancellor of Germany on Wednesday, succeeding Angela Merkel after 16 years and launching a new era of German and European politics.

Why it matters: Scholz, a center-left pragmatist who served as finance minister and vice chancellor in Merkel's last government, will lead Europe's largest economy in a coalition with the environmentalist Greens and pro-business Free Democrats.