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California Declared Drought-Free in 2023, According to United States Drought Monitor

Positive Trends, Record Snowpack, and Executive Measures for Groundwater Recharge

By Dolores Quintana

The NIDIS Drought website has reported that for 2023, California is no longer in a drought. As of October 17’s report, only 5.68% of California is experiencing Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions. 

NIDIS’ findings are most encouraging, especially since the weather will likely continue to be wetter than normal. The findings are:

  • The California-Nevada Drought Early Warning System region commenced Water Year 2023 with 100% drought coverage but concluded with less than 1% drought.
  • Cool and wet weather conditions contributed to a record snowpack in the Southern Sierra Nevada and the resurgence of Tulare Lake.
  • In response to the wet conditions, a California executive order from Governor Gavin Newsome was issued to optimize opportunities for groundwater recharge.
  • El Niño is present and expected to persist and peak in winter. However, current outlooks indicate equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal conditions. This contrasts with the traditional El Niño precipitation pattern, which typically brings normal to wet conditions to the southern portion of the California-Nevada region.

It’s hard to know exactly what the El Niño will bring. California had 23 atmospheric rivers in 2023, but the state is in a much better position going into 2024.

in News
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