Map reveals virtually all of California out of ‘distinctive drought’ after week’s storms

A two-week comparability of the California Drought Map, from Dec. 21 (left) to Dec. 28.

A brand new map from the federal U.S. Drought Monitor launched Thursday reveals the drastic results of the previous week’s storms on the severity of drought throughout California. 

Nearly the complete state is out of “distinctive drought” ranges, although a lot of the central a part of the state stays in “excessive drought.” The heavy storms in the course of the previous week contributed to a document snowfall for December, with the Central Sierra snow lab observing 193.7 inches of snow. The earlier document was set in 1970 with 179 inches of snow in the course of the month. 

Circumstances all through the state may proceed to enhance within the following weeks, particularly with above-normal precipitation predicted for Northern California subsequent week, in accordance with the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“Previous to the current heavy precipitation this month, a lot of California was designated with excessive (D3) to distinctive (D4) drought,” Brad Pugh, a meteorologist for the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that assists with the map, wrote in an e-mail. “The current heavy precipitation and favorable snowpack resulted in 1 to 2-class enhancements within the drought depth stage, however 12 to 24-month precipitation deficits proceed. Extra enhancements could also be warranted in the course of the subsequent couple of weeks.”

Even with these enhancements, there may be nonetheless no a part of the state that isn’t in some stage of drought.

FILE: Diamond Valley Lake, certainly one of Southern California’s largest reservoirs (800,000 acre-feet) used primarily for consuming water and agriculture, is stuffed with water from the Colorado River and seen at 75% capability on the morning of November 18, 2021, close to Hemet, California. 

The colour-coded map reveals the extent of dry situations from « abnormally dry » (yellow) to « distinctive drought » (maroon). Most of California stays within the “reasonable drought” classification, at 53.35% of the state. That is an enchancment from the map launched on Dec. 21, when many of the state (56%) was within the “excessive drought” class. Lower than one p.c of the state remains to be within the “distinctive drought” class.

The Drought Monitor, a joint effort of the NOAA, the U.S. Division of Agriculture and the Nationwide Drought Mitigation Middle on the College of Nebraska-Lincoln, takes under consideration precipitation totals and in addition indexes a wide selection of indicators, together with groundwater storage, river ranges, soil moisture, satellite-based assessments of vegetation well being and extra. 

« It’s the device to serve all functions till you have a look at the nuances of the place your water provide comes from and it turns into extra advanced, » Jeanine Jones, California’s drought supervisor with the state’s Division of Water Sources, instructed SFGATE in a earlier interview. « Whereas the map might be most consultant of situations when it’s very moist or very dry, it’s every little thing in between that’s tougher to depict. »

SFGATE Senior Information Editor Amy Graff contributed to this report. 

Tessa is a Native Editor for SFGATE. Earlier than becoming a member of the group in 2019, she specialised in meals, drink and life-style content material for quite a few publications together with, The Daring Italic, 7×7 and extra. Contact her at


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