The weekly drought report by government and academic water experts showed 42 percent of the state free from drought. This time last year, 97 percent of the state was in drought.
Southern California, also receiving welcome rain from the storms, remains in drought but has experienced a dramatic reduction in the severity. Just 2 percent of the state, a swath between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, remains in the sharpest category of drought that includes drying wells, reservoirs and streams and widespread crop losses. Forty-three percent of the state was in that direst category this time a year ago.
California will remain in a drought emergency until Gov. Jerry Brown lifts or eases the declaration he issued in January 2014, while standing in a bare Sierra Nevada meadow that one of the state's driest stretches on record had robbed of all snow.
MORE: Snowpack survey shows CA's water content at half normal
More than 40 percent of California out of drought, officials say
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