California’s drought continues to wane just as the Bay Area is about to receive five straight days of rain, according to the National Weather Service.
The U.S. Drought Monitor’s weekly analysis, released on Thursday shows only 2 percent of the state remains in the most extreme category “exceptional drought,” down 43 percent from a year ago.
Recent heavy rains have resulted in significant improvements for much of California, most of it in the Northern half of the state.
Which means it’s still a tale of two droughts. Everything north of Sacramento is drought-free, while the most severely impacted area of the state is in Merced County and further south.
Even with all the storms, California still has significant water challenges, including badly overdrawn groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, a rainfall deficit from the past five dry years and reservoirs in some parts of the state, particularly Santa Barbara, that have not yet recovered.