After 7 Years, California Has Some Good News

Drought is gone from all parts of the state
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2019 9:48 AM CDT
For First Time in 7 Years, California Is Drought-Free
This Jan. 21, 2019, photo shows a section of land that burned in the Woolsey wildfire at Malibu Creek State Park, now covered in new, green grasses after a series of rainstorms.   (AP Photo/John Antczak)

Thanks to a very wet winter, California is finally drought-free. A map released Thursday by the US Drought Monitor shows "almost entirely normal conditions" across the state for the first time since December 2011, reports the Los Angeles Times. "It's been so wet … that we've been able to alleviate drought across the state," says climate scientist Jessica Blunden. Many of California's reservoirs were filled by storms in January, when the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada doubled. The snowpack, a major source of water for the state, then doubled again in February. Now, "the reservoirs are full, lakes are full, the streams are flowing, there's tons of snow," and "all the drought is officially gone," Blunden says.

A drought emergency was lifted in 2017, but Gov. Jerry Brown warned Californians to continue conserving water as some areas remained under extreme drought. A report issued a year ago found 11% of the state was experiencing normal conditions, while 88.9% was "abnormally dry," per the Times. Just 7% of the state, small areas in northern and southern California, remained "abnormally dry" as of Thursday, per NBC News, but more storms should bring relief. Still, Blunden warns drought conditions "can sneak up on you very quickly. It is good to be cautious and always think about conserving water." That also goes for residents of Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming, where many areas remain in drought. (More California drought stories.)

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