Officials: More than 40 percent of California out of drought

Posted at 6:50 AM, Jan 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-12 20:37:07-05

Federal monitors announced Thursday that 42 percent of California has emerged from a five-year drought after some of the heaviest rain and snow in decades.

The finding marks a dramatic turnaround from this time last year when 97 percent of California was locked in drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor says half of the state, all in the central and southern regions, remains in severe drought or worse.

Storms this week brought the Sierra Nevada its heaviest snow in six years and hit parts of Northern California with the most rain in two decades.

The storms helped double vital snowpack in a week. State reservoirs are now fuller than average for the first time in six years.

State officials say Governor Jerry Brown likely will wait until spring to decide whether to lift the state's three-year drought emergency.