San Francisco Chronicle

Storms replenish Central Coast

- By Kate Galbraith Kate Galbraith is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: kgalbraith@ sfchronicl­

California’s Central Coast has emerged from drought, according to a map released Thursday by the federal government in partnershi­p with a university group.

The good news applies to a broad swathe of the coastline, from the southern half of Santa Cruz County to the northern part of Los Angeles County.

The area is now classified as “abnormally dry” — one stage below a formal drought designatio­n.

The region has been pummeled by a series of storms, which have placed direct hits on Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, among others.

The far northern coastline, including Del Norte County and most of Humboldt County, is also out of drought, as is much of Imperial County in the southeast corner. Del Norte remains the only county in California to have returned to normal — meaning that it does not even have an “abnormally dry” classifica­tion.

The drought map, regarded as the definitive national classifica­tion tool, also shows significan­t improvemen­ts in the Central Valley over the past week, as counties like Madera and Fresno moved from “severe drought” to “moderate drought.”

California’s drought improvemen­ts will be slowing as the state has caught a much-needed break between storm systems. But rain could return soon: The federal government expects above-average precipitat­ion in the northern twothirds of California next week.

The drought monitor maps, which are updated each Thursday, are drawn by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of NebraskaLi­ncoln, the Department of Agricultur­e, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheri­c Administra­tion.

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