Is California still in a drought? Map shows latest conditions ahead of more rain, snow
For the first time in more than two years, much of the southwest portion of California is free of both drought and “abnormally dry” conditions.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Santa Barabra, Ventura and Orange counties are drought-free. San Diego and Los Angeles counties, although they show improvement in the last seven days, haven’t completely shaken “abnormal dry” and “moderate drought” statuses.
The bird’s eye view: Every week, California moves further away from its once drought-stricken conditions. Most of the central Sierra, foothills, Central Valley and the entire coast have exited drought conditions.
Roughly 64% of the state is drought-free.
Is California still in a drought?
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California’s drought conditions show vast improvement over the last three months, indicative of an extremely wet start to the year.
Northern California exited “severe drought,” except for portions of Modoc, Lassen and Siskiyou counties. The majority of the desert region including Inyo and San Bernardino counties remains in “severe” and “moderate” drought.
Last week, more than 55% of the state was at least abnormally dry. Now, it’s at 51.5%. Roughly 35.9% of the state has at least moderate drought — little improvement over last week’s 36.4.% — and 8.5% remain in severe status for the second week in a row.
The state has been free of both “extreme” or “exceptional” drought since January.
The information used in this interactive map, collected from the U.S. Drought Monitor, was updated Thursday with data through March 21. Here are the drought conditions in California. See where your area lands:
The drought may be over for portions of California but water problems persist.
Southern California was hit with a rare tornado, the central portion of the state is battling farmland flooding and Lopez and Whale Rock reservoirs in San Luis Obispo County are spilling for the first time in decades.
To add to the list, flooding, rain and wind are knocking power out to homes and businesses.
With looming warm rain and a swollen record-nearing snowpack, water management officials released water from several of the state’s major reservoirs including Folsom, Oroville, Friant and Shasta dams.
When will it rain and snow again in California?
Spring doesn’t mean an end to wet weather.
While portions of California dry out, the northern part of the state braces for another storm. According to the National Weather Service, Thursday will bring rain, snow and thunderstorms. The mountains could get at least 12 inches of snow, with between 5 to 10 inches of snow above 4,000 feet.
According to the California Department of Water Resources, 47 stations in the Central Sierra Nevada are reporting at 229% of normal on Thursday.
Peak snow season is generally on April 1. As of Thursday, snowpack throughout California is 225% of the average.
UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab recorded more than 1 foot of snow in the last seven days. Between another 2 and 4 feet of snow could fall Tuesday over the mountains.
A fresh 3.3" (8.5 cm) of #snow over the last day brings our 7-day total to 16.1" (41 cm).
Though we've seen less snowfall over the last week, we are carefully watching a storm system predicted to bring the lab and its surroundings 2-4 feet of snow on Tuesday.#CAwx #CAwater pic.twitter.com/pOIKai4Wa2
— UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab (@UCB_CSSL) March 23, 2023