Nearly half of California is officially out of the drought.
While the real turning point in the drought occurred in early January, when a series of storms brought drenching rains and drifting snow to the state, the unrelenting march of moisture off the Pacific Ocean continues to make milestones in dousing the nearly six-year drought.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor's weekly analysis, no part of California remains in a state of "exceptional drought," the most severe category, and barely more than 2 percent remains in "extreme drought" (bright-red on the map) as nearly two-thirds of the state was classified just a year ago. The portion of California classified in any level of drought is now just over 51 percent.
The animated map takes you from the first flickers of drought in 2011, through its peak, up to its waning stage today. Dark-red indicates the most severe level of drought. Yellow indicates areas considered "abnormally dry," but not technically in drought, as defined by NOAA.
UPDATE: So moisture-packed was the parade of recent storms that a new report from NASA estimates that two of these "atmospheric rivers" by themselves might have made up more than a third of California's five-year deficit of water content in the Sierra snowpack.