SAN FRANCISCO – More than 99 percent of California remains in moderate or worse drought despite rains received through the end of November, national drought experts said Thursday.
The data cutoff for the update was Tuesday, meaning rain and snow Tuesday and Wednesday from the state's heaviest storms so far this season were not reflected, said climatologist Brian Fuchs at the National Drought Mitigation Center in Nebraska.
The update shows the state's drought status was unchanged from the previous week, meaning 55 percent of the state still is considered in the most extreme category of drought while 99.7 percent remains in moderate drought or worse.
The past two months have seen several back-to-back rain storms. The rain in recent days was among the heaviest that some areas had seen in years.
Fuchs and other climatologists stressed that California needs to see a consistent pattern of storms to move it out of what has been its driest three years on record.
"One event isn't going to take away three years of drought," Fuchs said.
Along with rain and snow, drought monitors consider the water levels in reservoirs, rivers and streams, soil moisture, and dozens of other factors.
The storm that moved through California this week dropped widely varying amounts of rain, ranging from trace amounts in parts of the state to 14.5 inches in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California.