U.S. drought levels fall to lowest point in years
Just five percent of the United States is experiencing drought conditions, the lowest level of drought the country has experienced since government scientific agencies began updating the U.S. Drought Monitor on a weekly basis in 2000.
Record rain and snowfall over the winter on the West Coast and heavy spring rains in the Midwest have alleviated some of the worst and longest-lasting drought conditions ever recorded.
That parching, years-long drought came after another rainy period, in 2010, when just eight percent of the U.S. experienced drought conditions.
The boom-and-bust cycle is likely caused by climate change that creates more extreme weather patterns, scientists say.
Today, small parts of Southern Georgia and Central Florida are still experiencing extreme drought.
As recently as September, the entire state was experiencing at least some drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and 43 percent of the state experienced extreme drought.
"California’s drought was alleviated by atmospheric rivers that brought heavy rains earlier this year," Matthew Rodell, a NASA hydrologist, said in a statement.
Now, California faces the opposite problem.
Heavy rain and snowfall has damaged systems meant to capture water, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Water officials are worried that heavy rains could damage other dams in Northern California, too.