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U.S. Drought Monitor Updates its Drought Report

Drought in Western Region of U.S. Expected to Ease


The Jan. 10 U.S. Drought Monitor report predicts that during Jan. 17-21, the west and eastern half of the U.S will receive above median precipitation, with sub-median precipitation favored in the southern plains and western Alaska.
Photo Credit: David Miskus, NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC

California saw the largest reduction in drought conditions due to more than two inches of precipitation falling from Southwestern Washington southward to Los Angeles, including over a foot along the northern and central California coast and on the Sierra Nevada range, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor's Jan. 12 drought report by David Miskus.

The overall percentage of areas experiencing normal precipitation increased from zero percent three months ago to 34.62 percent as of Jan. 10. The West Coast is not the only part of the country benefiting from this wet weather.

The also report noted that the western region of the U.S. as a whole has seen a dramatic decrease in the total area of land under abnormally dry drought conditions. The Drought Monitor notes that the total area of abnormally dry land decreased from 62.02 percent to 35.05 percent.

"With more than a foot of precipitation falling on the Sierra Nevada (locally 20.7 inches at Strawberry Valley, CA), most major reservoirs were at or above its Jan. 10 historical average," said David Miskus, NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC. "USGS monitored streams were at near or record high flows, state snow water content was at 135%, and the Northern Sierra 8-station, San Joaquin 5-station, and Tulare Basin 6-station precipitation indices topped their wettest previous year as of Jan. 10."

The report predicts heavy rains will shift away from California over the next five days, bringing heavy precipitation to the south-central plains, with notable rainfall over central Oklahoma.

Residents of California should be advised state water conservation efforts are still in effect. For more information visit

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November 13, 2018, 8:57 am PST

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