A month's worth of Pacific storms have brought significant improvements to the western US drought.

Lasting more than five years, this current western drought saw its driest years between 2011 and 2014; considered the worst drought period the region has seen since record keeping began.

Livestock, farmland and water reserves were significantly affected by the long-term drought.

In 2015 there was only a slight improvement in the drought during the presence of an El Nino event when the warmer waters off the Pacific coast of South America helped trigger additional rainfall for California.

The drought also took its toll on the California forests where, in 2016 alone, more than 62 million trees died, making a total loss of 102 million during the entire five-year period. 

But since the start of the new year, the west coast of the US has had no lack of Pacific storms coming onshore with plentiful amounts of rain and snow.

In January 2016 almost 40 percent of the state of California was under the classification of Exceptional Drought, the highest level of drought category assigned.  

Twelve months later, the state has improved significantly with the biggest change happening in just the last few weeks. Northern California is now completely out of the drought and only 1.8 percent of southern California is considered to be under an Extreme Drought classification.

More Pacific storms are forecast this weekend and into next week for western North America promising to chip away at the remaining pockets of any leftover drought areas.

 

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies