Drought conditions across the state have retreated after last year’s winter season brought heavy rain and historic snowfall to multiple regions. Tropical Storm Hilary brought even more rain during the summer.
About 94% of the state is free from any drought classification, data released on Nov. 2 shows.
Siskiyou, Modoc and Del Norte counties in Northern California are still classified as “abnormally dry,” the U.S. Drought Monitor’s least severe classification. Small portions of Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial counties have the same classification.
The "abnormally dry" classification indicates that a region is "going into or coming out of a drought," according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
No area in the Golden State is considered to be in an “extreme or exceptional” drought, the U.S. Drought Monitor’s two worst classifications.
In November 2022, virtually all of California’s Central Valley was deemed to be in an “exceptional drought,” which prompted state water regulators to adopt emergency water rules meant to ensure more aggressive conservation statewide.
The last time California was drought-free was from March to September 2019, before experiencing a moderate drought. The state was declared drought-free again from November 2019 until February 2020, data from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows.
Weather experts predict that an El Niño will last through early winter, the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, recently said, and a 90% or higher chance it will last into spring.
For California, the El Niño weather event will likely mean a wetter winter for the region.
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