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California drought free for the first time since 2011

Posted at 11:15 AM, Mar 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-14 14:15:21-04

(KGTV) — Several storms that have showered California with snow and rain have lifted the state out of drought for the first time since 2011.

The U.S. Drought Monitor said Thursday that California was free of drought for the first time since Dec. 20, 2011. The state had seen some form of drought for at least 376 consecutive weeks.

As of Thursday, the agency said more than 93 percent of the state was out of drought conditions.

RELATED: Devastating 'ARk' storm envisioned for California by U.S. Geological Survey

Among the areas still seeing "abnormally dry" conditions are a small patch along California's border with Oregon and parts of four Southern California counties, including San Diego County.

San Diego County's drought conditions were due to abnormally dry years prior to this winter, according to the agency, and local reservoirs were not at capacity despite the heavy rains.

"The rest of the region in Southern California is still abnormally dry due to very dry previous years. Reservoirs in San Diego County are only at 65 [percent] capacity. Big Bear Lake was down 18 feet in early March, although expected to continue to rise," the agency says.

RELATED: Recent rain not enough to bring San Diego out of drought

Locally, weather is expected to continue warming into next week, after the region saw more rain and snow last weekend.