DISCUSSION: Of increased interest has been the diminishing figures of high drought intensity in California. The holiday season proved to be fruitful especially into the New Year as we wrap up our first month into 2017. With the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, the weather in the Eastern Pacific has been enough to keep us captivated from the Pineapple Express to the expansive low that brought unsettled weather this week to the Western states.
Attached are images of the U.S. Drought Monitor for the state of California, January 26th, 2016 and January 31st, 2017 nearly a year apart. During our last investigation, observing the drought monitor for December 2015 and December 2016, impacts for D4 Exceptional Drought had decreased nearly 40%. With data taken from January 2016 and January 2017 D4 Exceptional Drought is at a 0%, even with D3 Extreme Drought at 1.87% with 38.98% of the states’ area not experiencing any drought, whereas there was 0% reportable of no drought conditions seen in the state.
Within 52 weeks the US Drought Monitor has published a class change from January 31st, 2017 compared to February 2nd, 2016. Many of the changes reported can be seen in central/northern California, seeing as much as 5 Class Improvement. There is still work to be done however as southern California reports no change to some 2 Class degradation in drought. Degradation isn’t entirely apparent however reviewing the January 31st release, much of the D0-D3 drought area is concentrated in central/southern California.
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~Meteorologist Jessica Olsen