SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Drought Monitor showed nearly one-fourth of California out of drought on Thursday, the best such showing for the parched state in more than three years.
Water officials who oversaw mandatory water conservation by cities and towns emphasized three-fourths of the state remains in the five-year drought.
"Droughts are like recessions. Recovery from a recession doesn't happen overnight; recovery from a drought doesn't happen overnight," said Max Gomberg of the state Water Resources Control Board.
October brought heavy rains in Northern California, including the second-wettest October on record for the northern Sierras, the source for much of the state's water.
But "one month of good rain is not a drought-buster," Gomberg said. "You need a lot more of that until the entire state can climb out of drought."
On Thursday, the weekly national drought monitor showed 12 percent of the state, in the far northwest near the Oregon border, had normal or better moisture and another 12 percent was rated unusually dry but not in drought.
Three-fourths of the state remains in drought, mostly in Central and Southern California, where most of the state's crops and the majority of its 39 million people are found. Twenty-one percent of the state -- again in Central and Southern California -- are in the most severe category of drought.
The drought spanned the driest period on record in California. A state-declared drought emergency, ordered nearly three years ago, remains in effect. Authorities lifted a 25-percent conservation order for urban Californians earlier this year.