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Drought Improvement In Northwestern California

Ed Joyce / Capital Public Radio

Drought conditions have improved significantly over the past year in California, and there is no drought in part of the state. The view of Yosemite Falls on May 22, 2016, at Yosemite National Park, reflects the increased Sierra Nevada snowpack.

Ed Joyce / Capital Public Radio

There was a slight reduction in moderate and severe drought in California over the past week but extreme and exceptional drought maintains its grip over a large swath of the state.

The extreme northwest portion of the state, just north of San Francisco to Crescent City and east along the Oregon border, accounts for the portion of California where there is no drought. (This area is depicted in yellow and white on the California state graphic). The percentage of area not in drought increased slightly in the past week.

Drought was also reduced in a section of extreme southeastern California last week.

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The U.S. Drought Monitor says most of the changes on the map this week were for the better "with the one exception being the northern Cascades in Washington, which saw a push of D0 conditions [Abnormally Dry] north to the Canadian border."

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"Other areas seeing changes for the better can be found along the eastern and southern flanks of the drought across western Nevada, extreme southeastern California, northwestern Arizona and southwestern Utah. Although certainly not all in the clear, northwestern California has seen some minor reduction of D0-D1 [Abnormally Dry to Moderate Drought]."

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The Drought Center measures the intensity of drought. The only changes in California (before the report’s Tuesday 8 a.m. EDT cutoff) were a nearly three-percent reduction in the level of moderate (83.9 percent) and a two-percent reduction in severe (59.02 percent) drought.

But nearly 94 percent of California remains abnormally dry. Extreme drought is nearly 43 percent and exceptional drought remains at 21 percent. A year ago, the percentage of the state in extreme drought was 66 percent, with exceptional at 46 percent.

060216 DROMON-Snowpack

Statewide snowpack June 2 is 23 percent of normal in the Sierra Nevada. The southern Sierra is 16 percent of normal, compared to 32 percent for the northern Sierra and 24 percent in the central.

The three-month U.S. Monthly and Seasonal Drought Outlooks from the NOAA/NWS Climate Prediction Center shows drought persists with long-term drought entrenched over a portion of California.

060216 DROMON-Seasonal