California is drought free for first time in seven years

California is drought free for first time in seven years
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California is officially free of drought for the first time in more than seven years, the National Integrated Drought Information System said Thursday. 

The state remains categorized as "abnormally dry," but weather in 2017 and a wet winter this year helped push the state out of a drought that has lasted since December 2011.

 

 

"The storms this year have really helped snowpacks, the reservoirs," Jessica Blunden, a climatologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information, told NBC News.

She also said cold temperatures kept snowpacks from melting too quickly.

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Records show the most recent meteorological winter, defined as Dec. 1 through the end of February, was the wettest on record across the United States since the government first started tracking it in 1895. The national average rainfall was 9.01 inches. 

Los Angeles had its fifth-longest streak of cool temperatures this winter, with 41 consecutive days where the high was below 70 degrees. The city also saw a rare but short snowfall in February. 

The weather has resulted in a "super bloom" of poppies in the state.