California drought area drops in last three months
As of Mar. 20, about 48 percent of California was under moderate, severe, or extreme drought conditions, but this area has fallen to 37 percent as of June 19. While this is obviously an improvement for crops—and the almost 23 million Californians living in drought areas—the area under drought a year ago was only slightly above 8 percent, a quarter of the current figure.
Reservoir levels are also encouraging, with many at or above historical averages. The exceptions: Trinity Lake, at 86 percent of average, and Lake Oroville, at 65 percent of average.
NOAA now estimates that the chance of El Niño is 50 percent for the fall, rising to 65 percent this winter. Remember, not all El Niños are created equal. While the received wisdom is that El Niño conditions bring wetter weather, when El Niño conditions are weaker or inconsistent, California sees little or no extra rains.
California drought monitor
Source: NOAA, USDA
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