Water & Drought

SLO County goes from exceptional drought to moderate drought in just 6 weeks

California no longer has any regions in exceptional drought. A comparison of the latest map released Thursday, left, to one year ago shows how much conditions have improved.
California no longer has any regions in exceptional drought. A comparison of the latest map released Thursday, left, to one year ago shows how much conditions have improved.

The drought isn’t over yet, but much of San Luis Obispo County has been downgraded from exceptional drought to moderate drought thanks to the deluge of rain over the past six weeks, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey tweeted a picture of the current drought map next to the state map from last February, with the caption, “What a difference one year makes!”

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Locally, the bulk of the change can be credited to 2017’s wet start. As recently as Dec. 27, much of SLO County remained in exceptional drought. But no longer.

As of Thursday, the U.S. Drought monitor reported that 53 percent of California is completely drought-free, and not a single area of the state is in exceptional drought.

Meanwhile, more rain is on the way. Between 1.5 and 2.5 inches of rain are forecast from Thursday night through Friday, Lindsey said.

For the first time in nearly six years, Santa Margarita Lake is full and spilling over into the Salinas River. Mark Hutchinson, deputy director of SLO County Public Works, talks on Feb. 8, 2017, about the role of the lake, also known as the Salina

Gabby Ferreira: 805-781-7858, @Its_GabbyF

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