LOS ANGELES — The National Drought Mitigation Center says California is free of drought for the first time since Dec. 20, 2011.

Much of Central and Northern California were out of drought status by early February. It took a couple more atmospheric rivers to dig the rest of the state out of the dryness.

The U.S. Drought Monitor says Thursday that more than 93 percent of the state is free of drought or dryness. The center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said California experienced some form of drought for 376 consecutive weeks.

Tiny areas of abnormal dryness along the Oregon border and in parts of four southern counties amount to less than 7 percent of the state.

The Drought Monitor says the conditions in the far south are due to very dry prior years, noting that reservoirs in San Diego County are at only 65 percent of capacity.

After heavy snow early this week in Southern California mountains, weather is expected to warm under influence of Santa Ana winds before another storm approaches the state next week.

The center and federal agencies jointly produce the U.S. Drought Monitor, which reported Thursday that a very wet winter has eliminated drought from California and less than 7 percent of its territory remains in the lesser condition of abnormal dryness.

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