Fresno County remains in extreme drought despite recent storms

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Weather service officials declared Northern California free of the drought, but that's not the case in the Central Valley and SoCal. (KFSN)

After years of drought, we've seen a staggering amount of rain. So far, Fresno has seen more than three inches of rain this month.

In 2017, Rain has been a constant sight across the Valley. Many local farmers have been keeping their eyes on their crops, which are soaking up the moisture.

"These are the kind of storms we expect," Ryan Jacobsen with the Fresno County Farm Bureau said. "These are storms we've kind of forgotten about these last five years, but there's nothing unusual in the fact that we've seen some minor flooding."

Jacobsen says the ag community is enjoying the rain and forecaster Alena Lee says areas across the Central Valley have seen double, and even triple, the amount of moisture than last year.

"So far in Fresno, we have seen over three inches of rain total just in Fresno alone," she said. "We have more than four inches in Merced and a little over two inches in places like Hanford and even Madera. So, we have seen several inches of rain and we're not even out of January yet."

Recently, experts said Northern California was out of the drought, but, in the Fresno area, it's a much different picture.

"For us, our severity of the drought has lessened but we are still in an extreme drought," Lee said.

Last year, the Central Valley was in what is labeled an Exceptional Drought and some areas south of Bakersfield are still dealing with that. As for farmers in our area, planting season shouldn't be affected.

"We almost have something we plant any time of the year, but we really get heavily into the February-March periods is where we see a lot of the planting take place on the west side," Jacobson said. "Obviously, with some of the rains we've seen, it'll keep folks out of those fields for a time, but, overall, I think everyone is welcoming the rain."

As for the future, Jacobsen he says many farmers remain cautiously optimistic about the future and are hoping for more rainy days ahead.
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