LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — The drought is back in Southern California – even as many are feeling like it never left.
Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties all remain in severe drought, according to a weekly report released Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The report also shows 44 percent of the state is now considered to be in a moderate drought, up 13 percent from just one week ago.
A drought state of emergency was lifted in California less than a year ago after a rainy winter snapped a deep five-year drought that forced water conservation.
Los Angeles received only one significant rain in almost the last 12 months.
In Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, which are about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, the lack of rain and dry vegetation were perfect fuel for a December wildfire that grew to be the largest recorded in state history. When it finally rained, the scorched earth turned into deadly mudslides.
Doug Carlson, spokesman for the state’s Department of Water Resources, which carries out the snowpack surveys, said the dry weather is a growing concern, although reservoirs are still fuller than usual thanks to last year’s rain in Northern California.
Considerations of what constitutes a drought vary, and include: rainfall, the state of waterways, soil dryness, and other measures. Any decision to declare a new drought emergency if the winter remains dry, or later, would be up to Brown.