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Kern County's drought ranking improves again, now considered "moderate"

January rain provides more relief from the drought
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Posted at 7:59 AM, Feb 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-02 11:21:17-05

It's Groundhog Day and Punxsatawney Phil saw his shadow this morning and called for six more weeks of winter, which is pretty appropriate since we woke up to rain in California once again. But the biggest headline of the day is that the latest drought report was released this morning, and once again we have seen significant improvement in the drought conditions here in Kern County!

As I reported last Thursday, the drought for the Frazier Park region of and the Angeles National Forest had improved from the ranking of Exceptional Drought (the worst level of D4) to Extreme Drought (D3). Well this morning the Frazier Park region has improved again, and is now considered to be in Severe Drought (D2), even though the Angeles National Forest region to the south remains in Extreme Drought.

Even better, Kern County's portion of South San Joaquin Valley has improved from last week's ranking of Severe Drought (D2) to Moderate Drought (D1) this morning!

As the National Weather Service in Hanford reported Wednesday, "Bakersfield recorded 2.76 inches of rain in January 2017, making it the wettest January since 1999" (which measured 3.90 inches of rain). It was also "the wettest calendar month since December 2010" (which brought an incredible 5.82 inches of rain in Bakersfield and resulted in widespread flooding). All that rain is clearly making a difference and we're only halfway through winter.

The US Drought Monitor reports this morning: "On the map, one-category improvements were made in areas of Moderate Drought (D1) and Severe Drought (D2) along the central Coast of California and in portions of the San Joaquin Valley where recent storm events during the past 30 days have improved overall conditions. Streamflows across the state are running normal to above normal. According to the California Department of Water Resources, the snowpack (statewide) is currently 108% of the April 1 average and 174% of normal for the date (February 1). Despite improvements across much of the state, the longer-term impacts of the drought are still being observed in relation to groundwater supplies in various California locations. In southern California, the San Diego County Water Authority issued a statement declaring that drought conditions in San Diego County have ended. It should be noted, however, that the state of California is still officially in drought under Governor Brown’s drought declaration (1/17/14)."

You can read the full report here.

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