California drought-free for the first time in 7 years

2019-03-18 12:09
Water cascades down a waterfall in Malibu, California. (Mario Tama, Getty Images, AFP)

Water cascades down a waterfall in Malibu, California. (Mario Tama, Getty Images, AFP)

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California has been declared drought-free for the first time in more than seven years. 

Generous winter rains have filled the state's reservoirs and the Sierra Nevada snow pack is now 50% higher than average.

This is the first time since mid-December of 2011 that the entire state has been classified as being free of drought, and the moisture deficit is not severe enough to cause social, environmental or economic hardship.

The current picture marks a major improvement from just one year ago, when nearly 70% of California was still classified as suffering from moderate to severe drought. And only three years before that, the Sierra snowpack had dwindled to virtually zero.

Meteorologists say extremes of weather, swinging from drought to deluge, will become increasingly common as the climate continues to change.

Although California is now drought-free, other parts of the US are not as lucky. Currently the worst conditions are in New Mexico, where the drought is in its most severe category: Exceptional. In a drought of this magnitude, there are expected to be widespread crop losses and shortages of water in reservoirs and streams. 

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Read more on:    us  |  climate  |  drought

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