Seasonal precipitation totals were 50 percent or less of normal for the last 90 days, according to the Drought Monitor report.
A significant part of California and Nevada were also too dry and suffering as a lack of notable snowfall across the western states left the Sierra Nevada area in a short-term drought, with forage conditions poor for livestock and wildlife.
"They have been building up this dry trend for awhile," said Edwards.
Nearly 81 percent of California was rated abnormally dry, up from 70 percent a week earlier, according to the Drought Monitor report issued Thursday. More than 46 percent of the state was rated in moderate drought and 3 percent was in severe drought, the report said.
Nevada had 88 percent of the state rated abnormally dry and 33 percent rated in moderate drought. (Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)