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Is California out of drought yet? It's complicated.

Experts say conditions have improved, but a definitive "yes" or "no" is a tougher call.

CALIFORNIA, USA — With all of the recent rain and snow, it begs the question as to whether California is still in drought.

The answer to the question is "no," but also "yes" to a degree.

People living in Sacramento County are now under a state of emergency after getting hit by a series of storms since March 8. The area has seen heavy rain, strong winds and now flooding and snowmelt are leading to even more flood dangers.

As far as the drought goes, Michael Anderson, climatologist with the Department of Water Resources, said conditions have improved, but while reassuring, a definitive "yes" or "no" is less easy to come by.

"One of the big challenges for California lies outside of California and the Colorado River Basin, a basin that's been in drought for 23 years and running," said Anderson.

This matters because Southern California won't be able to pull as much water from this resource. 

As spring inches closer, so do preparations for fire season and eyes are on the snowpack as experts look toward what impacts the rain season might have.

"In part, depends on how quickly the pack mount melts out, and how quickly the landscape dries out as well as the timing of the growth and drying of the grasses that they would call the fine fuels," said Anderson.

As spring evolves, scientists will also watch for drying winds from the desert.

Keep in mind, large fuels like trees are still stressed, so there's a lingering elevated fire risk. 

"We can say things are improving, just due will be lingering impacts, particularly those in the groundwater and in those basins outside of California that we rely on for our supply," said Anderson.

Officials say there are no plans to open the Sacramento weir and that increased water will possibly mean more allocation this year for the dry season.


California's not done with rain. Another major storm is possible next week

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