California Seeing Lowest Drought Conditions In Nearly 15 Years: Report

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California is witnessing its lowest drought conditions since 2011, according to recent data from the U.S. Drought Monitor. For the first time in over four years, Northern California is free from drought and abnormally dry conditions.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that drought conditions have been improving nationwide over the past month. Currently, only about 14% of the contiguous U.S. is experiencing a drought, marking the smallest amount since May 2020.

The U.S. Drought Monitor, a joint effort of the National Drought Mitigation Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and NOAA, uses five classifications to depict the location and intensity of drought across the country, per These range from Abnormally Dry (D0), indicating areas that may be entering or exiting a drought, to Exceptional Drought (D4), the most intense category.

The U.S. Drought Monitor released a map on Thursday (May 16) highlighting the intensity of drought, or lack thereof, in regions around the state.

The improved conditions in California are a welcome change, as periods of drought can lead to inadequate water supply, threatening the health, safety, and welfare of communities. Drought can also significantly impact the agricultural sector, reducing water availability and quality necessary for productive farms, ranches, and grazing lands.