Powerful storm eased drought in parts of California

LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Drought Monitor says the powerful storm that drenched much of California last week eased drought conditions in some parts of the state.

Monitor data published Thursday shows the central coast from Monterey Bay south to Ventura was reduced from moderate drought to the lesser condition of abnormally dry.

A swath northeastward across the Central Valley and into the Sierra Nevada was reduced from severe to moderate drought.

A strip of the far north coast also dropped out of moderate drought into abnormal dryness.

Overall, 85.9% of the state remains in some level of drought, down from more than 95% in the previous week's report.

California's Sierra snowpack lags despite recent big storms
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Recent storms have boosted California's Sierra Nevada snowpack but not enough to fully compensate for a dry start to winter. Measurements Wednesday found the water content of the snowpack is 70% of average to date.

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