After years of extreme drought, Southern California is now completely free of the worst conditions following recent rains that brought flooding, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor.
Also, the state's Central Valley region where agriculture is dominant continued to show improvement from abnormally dry conditions.
"The precipitation that fell this week continued to reduce long-term drought in California," the monitor said Thursday. "Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, which have been the epicenter of drought in California in recent weeks, received much-needed rainfall."
The monitor said more than 8 inches of rain was reported at two stations near Santa Barbara and almost 7 inches nearby at Ojai. Ventura County's community of Thousand Oaks also experienced well over 6 inches of rain.
"It's been raining a lot and gone a tremendous way towards eliminating surface drought conditions in California," said Richard Heim, a meteorologist with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 's National Centers for Environmental Information and the author of this week's monitor.
Added Heim, "We felt it was time that the extreme drought [category] went away." He said this week's monitor is the first time since Aug. 6, 2013, that California is free of "extreme" drought conditions.