drought

Wave of Spring Storms Wipes Out Drought in All of Southern California

Moderate and severe drought conditions persist in Central and Northern California, but the outlook is better than it was at the start of the year

US Drought Monitor

What to Know

  • This week's Drought Monitor report is the first since five straight days of rain drenched Southern California
  • Drought conditions were eliminated in Southern California, but parts of the state remain in severe and moderate drought
  • A weak storm system is expected to bring light rain Friday

Spring storms that included five consecutive days of soaking rain last week knocked out drought conditions in Southern California, according to this week's U.S. Drought Monitor report.

Late March and early April storms, including the system that rotated over SoCal throughout last week, provided a dramatic turnaround following a dry start to 2020. It meant a much-improved outlook for the water year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. 

“That drought that we had (in Southern California) is completely gone from the storms,” said NBC4 forecaster Shanna Mendiola. “We’re going to be looking pretty good here as we head toward September and the end of the water year.”

February is typically the wettest month of the year in Southern California, followed by January and February. But more than 75 percent of the state was considered abnormally dry at the end of March, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report. 

That figure was down to 58 percent in this week’s report, which showed no drought conditions in Southern California. 

“Record-setting rains continued in Southern California and into Arizona,” according to a statement in this week’s Drought Monitor report. “Over the last six weeks, areas in and around Kern County, California have gone from significant precipitation deficits to well above normal readings accompanied by flooding in the region.

“Most of southern California recorded 800 percent of normal precipitation just in the last week and 200-400 percent of normal over the last 30 days.”

Before last week's slow-moving storm brought days of rain to the region, part of western Los Angeles County and Ventura County remained abnormally dry.

A weak storm system expected to arrive Friday might bring light rain to parts of Southern California.

As for the rest of the state, a pocket of extreme Northern California remains in severe drought, according to this week’s report. The rest of Central and Northern California are abnormally dry or in in moderate drought.

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