(NEXSTAR) – The U.S. Drought Monitor released new data on California’s drought conditions Thursday – and what a difference a week makes.
The map, which includes data as recent as Tuesday, shows remarkable improvement from last week’s conditions. The portion of the state in “exceptional drought,” the most severe category, dropped from 23% to 0.84%.
Last week, the majority of California (about 79%) was in “extreme drought,” shown in bright red on the map above. This week, that area has narrowed quite a bit, to a band that runs down the state’s center. Now, only 33% of the state is experiencing “extreme drought” conditions.
As rain continued to drench much of Southern California and its snow-covered mountain peaks Thursday, we could see an even better map this time next week.
The Sierra Nevada range has seen more snow than in over a decade, and that’s good news for California’s snowpack. One spot near Lake Tahoe has recorded a whopping 17 feet of snow so far, a record for the month of December.
Snow in the mountains has meant rain, rain and more rain along the coast, especially in the Bay Area. San Francisco has seen one of its rainiest early winters since the 1980s.