New Map Shows Mostly Southern California Counties Remain In Extreme Drought

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A map released by the U.S. Drought monitor map Thursday shows just four California counties remain in extreme drought after last week’s barrage of rain and snow.

The map, dated Jan. 24, shows a large swath of Ventura County remains in extreme drought, along with the northern corner of Los Angeles County, a southern sliver of Kern County, and a southeastern portion of Santa Barbara.

A map of the same week last year shows the majority of California’s counties in exceptional or extreme drought.

(credit: U.S. Drought Monitor)

(credit: U.S. Drought Monitor)

“This improvement accounts for some short-term drought improvement, but the longer-term drought impacts still remain,” a statement from the National Weather Service said. “Surface water reservoirs and groundwater aquifers in some areas are still showing impacts of the drought and will take longer to recover.

A series of powerful storms have brought plenty of rain and snow to California as it faced a sixth year of unprecedented drought. The average snowpack this year is almost twice normal for late January, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and somewhat more than twice normal in the southern Sierra Nevada.

This month was also the wettest ever observed in 112 years of record, according to the San Joaquin precipitation index.

But experts say this month’s rainfall is simply short-term relief, in the grand scheme of things.

“I think we need to have another year like this following it to see the drought completely go away in Southern California,” NWS hydrologist Jayme Labor said.

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