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Extreme And Exceptional Drought Decline In California

California Department of Water Resources / Courtesy

The statewide Sierra Nevada snowpack was 87 percent of normal on March 30, 2016. The average was 58 percent of normal on April 21, 2016.

California Department of Water Resources / Courtesy

The U.S. Drought Monitor says extreme and exceptional drought was reduced slightly in California last week and for the first time since the week of July 2013, there is no exceptional drought in Nevada.

"Little or no precipitation fell on the areas of dryness and drought in the Far West from the southeastern fringes of Washington southward through Oregon, California, and Nevada, but with the wet season winding down (especially in California), its impact on the long-term drought situation and the conditions being set up for the summer dry season are coming into better focus," according to the report released April 21.

042116-CA Drought 20160419_CA_trd

The Drought Monitor intensity levels are Abnormally Dry, Moderate, Severe, Extreme and Exceptional drought.

The report shows extreme drought was reduced to 49 percent from 55 percent the previous week and exceptional drought now covers just 21 percent of California, a decline of 10 percent week over week.

There is no drought in 4 percent of the state, with 95 percent of the state abnormally dry. Moderate drought covers 90 percent of the state, with 74 percent of California in severe drought.

"Based on improved reservoir levels (and potentially water supplies), streamflows, and to a lesser extent groundwater levels, additional improvement was introduced in the Drought Monitor, most notably in some parts of California most intensely impacted by the drought for the past few years," the report says.

0421-WEST Drought 20160419_west _trd

"In a nutshell, the northward and northeastward extents of both the extreme (D3) and exceptional (D4) drought areas was reduced, including the removal of all D4 from southwestern Nevada. This is the first week since early July 2013 with no exceptional drought in the state of Nevada," the weekly update reported.

0421-DROMON-Snowpack Capture

The Sierra Nevada statewide snowpack on April 21, 2016 was 58 percent of normal and 52 percent of the April 1 average.  On March 30, 2016, the statewide average was 87 percent of normal.

The northern Sierra is 65 percent of normal, the central Sierra is 63 percent of normal and the southern Sierra is 46 percent of normal.

Heavy precipitation favored northern California over the winter, and reservoir storage reflects that north-south divide.

In the northern Sierra, Shasta Reservoir is at 92 percent of capacity and Lake Oroville is at 94 percent of capacity. Major reservoirs in central and southern California range from 65 percent of capacity at Don Pedro Reservoir to 36 percent at Perris Lake as of April 21.

0421-CA Reservoirs Capture