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The desert appears in color during a rare super flower near Palm Springs.
USA TODAY

California is completely dry-free for the first time since 2011 as a wet winter wind down, researchers said.

Abnormally dry conditions that remain in less than 7 percent of California, said the US Drought Monitor on Thursday, as storms have filled reservoirs, built snow packs, and improved soil moisture. The state had experienced some kind of drought for 376 consecutive weeks according to the National Drought mitigation center.

Parts of Southern California are drier than normal, the dry monitor said in its weekly report, due to previous years of little rain, but no one qualifies as drought. Reservoirs in San Diego County have only 65 percent capacity.

While Newsha Ajami, Stanford University's director of the Urban Water Policy, described the dry report and winter rain and snow so exciting, she said they are not signs of a wet future.

"If we have a few years in, perhaps our groundwater conditions are in much better condition and we can be in better shape to deal with another potential drought that will come," Ajami said. "California has a Mediterranean climate so we experience a lot of up and down in our weather conditions."

Several years of dry periods back to back, Ajami said, may cause drought conditions. The year before the drought began in December 2011, Ajami said that California recorded rainy, snowy and cool conditions similar to what it did this year.

Notes hot and dry years then led -Gov. Jerry Brown explains a drought emergency. Between 2010 and 2016, more than 102 million state trees died of 7.7 million hectares of forest, the US Forest Service said.

The state only closed executive order for water restrictions in 2017, when less than 9 percent of the state registered drying conditions. But in early 2019, more than 75 percent of the state experienced a certain degree of drought.

Over average amounts of rain and snow have increased the water supply and snow packing in mountain ranges, including the Sierra Nevada, where the state recorded levels of 153 percent of the average at the end of February. Wildflowers have also bloomed in southern California because of the rain.

Related: Deadly California floods enter 2,000 homes, turn 2 cities into "islands"; record snow hits Sierra

Related: Mudslides, floods, rain, hilly winds: California struck by dangerous storm

But the downturns also triggered mudslides and floods including in areas burned by new fires. Rain transformed Sonoma County into Guerneville into an island and caused millions in motorway damage in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles.

Since the capital reports 126 percent of normal rainfall levels, according to the National Weather Association Sacramento office Wednesday, the situation is very different than when government campaigns encouraged residents to let their lawns "fade into gold for the summer." 19659005] Whatever the current drying conditions, Ajami said, preserving water and using the resource efficiently and consciously should be a daily practice.

"The reality is that we will go in and out of drought over time," said Ajami. "We can't cool water for purposes that aren't necessary."

Contributors: Associated Press

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