California Drought Eases
On February 23 the U.S. Drought Monitor said that the worst drought conditions in California have diminished after storms that have drenched the state. Richard Heim, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information, said that for the first time since August 6, 2013, California is free of “extreme” drought conditions. The monitor said that reservoirs in parts of Southern California “still have a long way to go” before that region could be labeled drought-free.
The worst drought condition now in the state is “severe,” and that classification applies only to 4 percent of the state—down from just over 7 percent a week earlier. Three months ago, 60 percent of California was in severe drought. Overall the latest monitor reported “moderate” drought conditions in about 38 percent of the state—down from 56 percent in the previous week. Northern California has been essentially drought free for several weeks after heavy rainstorms in January. The deluge of rain caused major flooding in some large cities.