Los Angeles, 19 January. Rain and snow dumped by storms that ravaged California for nearly three weeks ended extreme drought in the state, the United States Drought Monitor showed this Thursday.
Although the storms killed at least 19 people and caused millions of dollars in damage, the rain and snow helped California deal with a drought that has forced officials to ask residents to reduce water use.
The state has “underestimated the intensity” of the drought, warned the monitor, in collaboration with federal government agencies and experts from the University of Nebraska, to show the state and intensity of drought across the country.
Based on data collected as of January 17, California is no longer experiencing extreme drought. In October 2022, 40.91% of the state was in extreme drought, and on January 5, the proportion of the state facing this condition was 27.1%.
“Severe or severe” drought, which was the third-highest level ever recorded in California (94 percent), also marked a decrease in the state, rising from 46 percent last week to 42.8 percent, according to data released today.
The rain helped Santa Barbara County the most, where most of the coast has been upgraded to a “normally dry” category, the lowest on the monitor.
For its part, Del Norte County, on the border with Oregon, does not register any level of drought.
Nonetheless, the monitors warned that a long-term drought “continues” in California, the Great Basin and parts of the Pacific Northwest.
“Precipitation was 300% above normal (2 to 12.5 inches depending on location) in most parts of the state over the past two weeks, marking a drought going on for years,” he said.
Worryingly, the largest reservoir supplying water to the state “is still below its historical average for this time of year.”