After battling dry conditions for five consecutive years, a significant portion of California is no longer classified as being in a drought. Recent storms have been pounding the West Coast, bringing relief to the region.
Scientists have calculated that about 42% of the state has emerged from begin in a drought, with only 7% of the area being abnormally dry. This percentage contrasts with 84% of the state being in a drought just three months prior.
The chronic dry conditions have compelled many municipalities to enact water usage rules. For example, some residents can only water their lawns on certain days, and others have their water usage regulated by a meter. During the summers, brown lawns took over where green grass was once the norm. This winter, the landscape is sure to be healthy and lush.
Up to 20 inches of rain and 12 feet of snow have fallen this season. That heavy snowpack will remain on the mountains in the Sierra Nevadas, melting this spring into run-offs in rivers and creeks.
While people have certainly been waiting for this precipitation, the rain has caused some problems. Around 2,000 people in Sacramento County and 3,000 people in Sonoma County have been asked to evacuate due to rising waters. In some places, rivers simply cannot handle inches upon inches of rain in a short period, and the water overflows into the streets. Anyone in lower elevations is prone to flooding, and it can be difficult for emergency workers to reach them in an emergency.
Many Californians, though, will gladly welcome the rain and snow after wishing for it for so many years.