It's official: The deluge of rain that soaked California in recent weeks has washed away the worst instances of the drought in the state, according to an analysis released Thursday.
While none of the state remains in the worst category known as "exceptional," the drought continues in the south and central portions of the state, the U.S. Drought Monitor said.
However, there was a major improvement shown in just the last week due to a series of tropical storms that produced substantial precipitation statewide. Yet the San Francisco Bay region and most northern counties in the state are now considered drought free, according to the monitor.
"The two big holdouts would be groundwater recovery and in Southern California reservoir recovery," said U.S. Department of Agriculture meteorologist Brad Rippey. "As you move to the north it's becoming more and more obvious that the drought has been eradicated."
Overall, the monitor morning showed 51 percent of California remains in some form of drought, but that's down from just over 57 percent last week and compares with 81 percent three months ago.
Perhaps the most dramatic change in the latest monitor is in the "extreme drought" category where coverage area went from 24 percent statewide last week to just 2 percent this week. The area with "exceptional drought" conditions stood at 21 percent three months and fell to 2 percent last week but as of Thursday is zero.
While there's rejoicing with January's rainfall, the state's water agency has no plans to roll back on conservation efforts.
"It makes the most sense to continue steady as she goes," California Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus told the Associated Press in an interview this week.