How quickly things change.
The adage that in California, “big droughts end in big floods,” appears to be playing out in boldface this winter. And the relentless drenching — especially since the new year began — is rapidly changing the drought map that has become a staple of media drought coverage.
NOAA’s latest rendering of its U.S. Drought Monitor shows no “extreme drought” conditions remaining in California, after a two-month spate of intense storms off the Pacific Ocean. Just one year ago, 60 percent of the state was classified in extreme drought. Less than 17 percent is now classified in any level of drought.
Watching the changing map through the arc of California’s five-year drought, perhaps the most startling feature is how fast things turned around in the course of just a few months.
California is on track to log its wettest winter on record, possibly surpassing the El Niño winter of 1982-83. Despite that, the state technically remains under a drought emergency, and officials recently extended mandatory conservation measures through the summer. Gov. Jerry Brown told reporters in Sacramanto on Friday that he is “getting ready” to lift his three-year-old emergency drought declaration, but “not yet.”