Weather

California out of ‘extreme drought,’ but SLO County still ‘abnormally dry’ — or worse

The map provided by the U.S. Drought Monitor on February 21, 2017, right, shows San Luis Obispo County in an “abnormally dry” state. The map on the left is California’s drought status as of February 7. 2017.
The map provided by the U.S. Drought Monitor on February 21, 2017, right, shows San Luis Obispo County in an “abnormally dry” state. The map on the left is California’s drought status as of February 7. 2017.

All of California is now out of the most extreme drought conditions, according to a newly released map from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Most of San Luis Obispo County remains in either a “moderate drought” or is “extremely dry.”

Much of Santa Barbara County remains in “severe drought.”

“Even though the reservoirs were responding quite favorably, they still have a long way to go before we can classify this area as drought-free,” according to a summary by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The results were as of Tuesday but were released Thursday.

The last time California had no areas in extreme or exceptional drought was Aug. 6, 2013, according to the National Weather Service.

Although rainfall since Oct. 1 has been 120 to 200 percent of normal, it isn’t enough to make up for five years of drought and rainfall deficits, according to the NWS.

Groundwater has also yet to recharge, according to the Drought Monitor.

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

Atascadero Lake reached its capacity Tuesday, February 7, 2017, and is now draining into Atascadero Creek. It's the first time in seven years the lake has been full.

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