California 100 Percent Drought-Free, Should Continue Until End of January: Expert

California 100 Percent Drought-Free, Should Continue Until End of January: Expert

Visitors gather and take photos at a temporary lake at Badwater Basin salt flats, caused by flooding in August from Tropical Storm Hilary, in Death Valley National Park, Calif., on Oct. 21, 2023. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

11/10/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

California is officially drought free and is expected to stay that way until at least the end of January 2024, according to a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center.
The state was also shown to be 100 percent drought-free by the center in data published online on Nov. 9. Only 6 percent of the state was marked with areas of concern.
“It is drought free, but there are areas of abnormally dry [conditions], but we don’t consider that drought,” Lindsay Johnson, a climatologist at the center based in Nebraska, told The Epoch Times.
The abnormally dry areas—the least severe classification in the center’s U.S. Drought Monitor maps—are along the Oregon border in Siskiyou, Del Norte, and Modoc counties in Northern California and a small area in Riverside and San Bernardino counties near the Arizona border in Southern California.
(Courtesy of the National Drought Mitigation Center)

(Courtesy of the National Drought Mitigation Center)

In February, 85 percent of the state was in drought, according to the center. Three months ago in August, only a quarter of the state was considered to be in drought by the center.
California received an abundance of rain and snow last winter, helping to pull it out of a three-year drought that strained water resources across the state.
When snow began to melt from record levels in the spring, the state’s conditions began to improve, according to Ms. Johnson.
Looking into the future, most of the state is expected to get slightly above-normal precipitation this winter, even though temperatures are forecast to also be above normal as the El Niño weather pattern settles in, bringing a pattern of warmer water and wetter weather to the state.
“It’s looking like at least until the beginning of next year, things are looking good,” Ms. Johnson said.
However, the National Weather Service’s seasonal drought outlook for the United States shows varied conditions predicted for Oregon and New Mexico, she added. Those dry conditions could expand into California.
“Those are the two areas that if drought were to infiltrate California, that’s where I’d anticipate it starting,” Ms. Johnson said. “But it’s wet enough [in California] right now that unless it gets super hot or super dry, I don’t anticipate things changing rapidly.”
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Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

Author

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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