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California governor proclaims drought emergency

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Gov. Jerry Brown has proclaimed a drought emergency in California, allowing the state to seek financial assistance and other help from the federal government during its third dry year.

Brown made the announcement Friday in San Francisco, formally stating what many in California already knew.

The U.S. Drought Monitor has reported extreme drought conditions in central and northern California, and there has been little snowfall so far this winter.

Precipitation in most of the state is less than 20 percent of normal, and reservoirs are dwindling. Forecasts suggest the dry spell could continue, exacerbating the already heightened fire danger.

Other states in the West also are facing dry conditions.

Brown's proclamation allows California to request a broad emergency declaration from President Barack Obama, which would provide financial and other help.