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The punishing drought conditions afflicting most of California are expected to endure for months, climate experts with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) said recently.

There is a 60-percent chance, NOAA experts said, of a La Niña event this winter — conditions that would likely bring about a cool and very dry winter.

NOAA climatologists presented a stark portrait of the fiercely dry conditions gripping a huge portion of the country: 46 percent of the contiguous U.S. is in a state of drought, they said.

Swaths of California, including nearly all of the Bay Area, are in the worst, or “exceptional” drought category. Larger and continuous wildfires are expected in Southern California heading into the fall.

Last month, just over 15 percent of the contiguous U.S. recorded record-breaking temperatures in June. Numerous pockets across the globe shattered all-time heat records.

Weather forecasters do not anticipate much more rain in the Los Angeles Basin for the rest of the year.

In the Bay Area, San Francisco received only 5.86 inches of rain, said Eleanor Dhuyvetter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Throughout the state, the last two years have exhibited among the worst and unusual drought conditions.

These conditions could worsen this year’s wildfire season. California has experienced 40 wildfires this year with eight of them active as of last weekend.