Recent soaking rains and late season snows from coast to coast have restored moisture throughout the country while stomping-out drought. Based on the latest Drought Monitor data released, only 9.8% of the US is experiencing any level of drought which is the lowest level since records began (2000).
One place with the greatest improvement in drought conditions is California. All but two reservoirs are beyond 100% of their historical averages for this time of the year; some, such as Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville are approaching 100% of their capacity. The Golden State has seen a steady stream of soaking storms impacting the state, with extremely heavy snow falling in the mountains too.
With a lot of moisture locked-up in snowpack that will begin to melt in the coming weeks and months, the outlook for the health of California’s reservoirs look good too.
While some past political leaders in California have said California is headed to a perma-drought with permanent, long-term drought conditions likely or imminent, current readings suggest anything but that is occuring.
Elsewhere in the country, things are looking more wet than dry too. NOAA considers large parts of the west, central states, Great Lakes region, and the northeast as “extremely moist” with plentiful water sources available thanks in part due to a wet weather pattern over the country.
Not everyone is moist though. There are some drought conditions over portions of Georgia, South Carolina, New Mexico, and Washington. However, drought conditions aren’t as widespread or as extreme as they’ve been in past years.
The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.