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California sees further reductions in severity of drought

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California continues to see regional reductions in the severity of its longstanding drought after recent deluges from atmospheric rivers, the U.S. Drought Monitor said Thursday.

Severe drought was reduced to moderate drought in most of the San Joaquin Valley and the lowest category — abnormal dryness — has replaced moderate drought on the entire central coast, including Monterey Bay, the monitor said in its weekly update.

“Over the past few weeks, a series of atmospheric rivers brought significant amounts of rain and snow across parts of the West leading to improvements in soil moisture, streamflow, reservoirs levels and snowpack,” the monitor said.

Most of the state, however, remains in moderate or severe drought, with only a fraction on the far north coast entirely free of drought.

The worst categories of drought — exceptional and extreme — were eliminated from California earlier this month.