Los Angeles

Finally, Severe Drought Gets the Boot From All of LA, Ventura, Santa Barbara Counties

At this time last year, 83 percent of California was in severe drought during a punishing five-year dry spell

Conditions have improved in a small swath of Southern California that was one of the last areas of severe drought still standing during a wet winter for the record books.

Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties are no longer under severe drought, according to this week's U.S. Drought Monitor report. Recent rainfall improved the outlook for groundwater in the region, accounting for the improvement, the Monitor report said.

Only 1 percent of California, a small portion in the extreme southeast corner of Imperial County, remains in severe drought this week.

[LA GALLERY UPDATED 4/2019] California Snowpack Through the Years

At this time last year, 83 percent of California was in severe drought during a punishing five-year dry spell. This season's record rainfall has knocked out drought in 92 percent of California. In early March 2016, 97 percent of the state was in some type of drought.

Moderate drought continues across all of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, the northern part of LA County, Orange County and portions of Imperial and eastern San Diego counties -- a dramatic turnaround over the last year. 

California is in the middle of one of its wettest winters in decades, but remains under a drought emergency. Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to review the drought declaration sometime after the rain ends.

What's good for drought conditions has brought misery for some Californians. Rivers and creeks have overflowed their banks in Northern California, where San Jose residents faced some of the most severe flooding. Gov. Brown asked Tuesday for federal assistance with the infrastructure damage from late January storms that caused flooding, mudslides and power outages.

The request follows two other petitions for federal help that President Donald Trump's administration granted last month to assist with earlier storm damages and the emergency at Oroville Dam, where an eroding spillway raised flood concerns.

Brown's office said Tuesday the governor also declared a state of emergency for 53 of the state's 58 counties due to late January storms.

[LA GALLERY] Aerial Photos of California's Winter 2017 Floods, Storm Damage

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