Friday, November 04, 2016

California drought at lowest level in three years, report says

A rainier than normal October has erased drought conditions in the northern corner of California, and the state overall is in better shape than it has been in years, though forecasters warn a month of improvement won't correct five years of extreme drought in the state.

Four counties in the northeast corner of California around Sacramento -- 12 percent of the state -- has no drought conditions and overall the drought has eased, but most of the state remains in severe drought or worse, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

At this time last year, more than 97 percent of California was mired in a moderate drought or worse. This year, 75 percent of the state is experiencing at least a moderate drought, the best since 2013 when 64 percent of the state was in moderate drought or worse.

The central and southern parts of California are in the worst shape, which is where most of the 43 percent of the state in at least extreme drought conditions and all of the 21 percent with exceptional drought conditions are located.

State climatologist Mike Anderson said the rain year, which started Oct. 1, has been good so far. Being just 31 days into the season, he cautioned judging the year until at least December, when the Sierra Nevada snowpack, a good measure of the state's water supply, is measured for the first time this year.

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