Recent rains put significant dent in Georgia's drought

A map released by the U.S. Drought monitor map Thursday shows just four California counties remain in extreme drought after last week's barrage of rain and snow. In September 27, 2016, about 84 percent of the state was still in a drought.

In this weekly roundup, we analyze key water developments in California, including an update on drought conditions and pressure to rescind the drought emergency measures.

A map of the same week past year shows the majority of California's counties in exceptional or extreme drought. By comparison, only 5 percent of the state was drought-free one year ago.

"Telling the public to continue extraordinary, emergency conservation measures when the drought emergency no longer exists undermines the credibility of state and local water agencies and erodes the effectiveness of communications during actual water supply emergencies", Mark Muir, chairman of the authority's board, said in a statement.

"Just because we get a bunch of rain today doesn't mean it solved our problem", said Mike Maggiora of Maggiora Bros.

California hasn't been drought-free since October 2011.

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"Statewide average snowpack (snow water equivalent) is nearly twice normal for late January, and somewhat more than twice normal in the southern Sierra Nevada", said Richard Tinker, a drought expert with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, according to CNN.

That is significant since the snowpack supplies about 30 percent of California's water particularly in the spring and summer months.

The most notable reduction in drought over the past week was in the severe and extreme categories.

More rounds of rain will be needed to completely end the drought in parts of the South. "Thus potable water is still being trucked in to serve residents with dry wells in areas such as Tuolumne County, and the deepest wells may not respond to the recent inundation for many more months".

"Like Texas with the perma-drought that ended with heavy rains, this has been an incredible winter in California with 200 percent of normal snow in the Sierra, running well-above normal in all of the state of California", said Joe D'Aleo, chief forecaster with WeatherBELL.

The post almost half of California is no longer in a drought appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

  • Alfonso Moody