By Joseph Serna
December 18, 2014

For the first time in five months, a majority of California is no longer considered to be in an exceptional drought, the most severe level possible under federal guidelines, the U.S. Drought Monitor announced Thursday.

About 32% of California, however – most of it in the Central Valley – remains under the exceptional drought category. Last week the total was at more than 55%.

“The wet weather finally allowed ample runoff (while producing stream and river flooding) that raised major reservoir levels…in most of northern and central California,” the report said.

“’Cautious optimism, but still a long way to go’ would be the very short summary for this week’s California drought picture,” the report said.

The good news is tempered by the fact that the entire state remains in some degree of drought and more than three-quarters of it, about 78%, is in “extreme” drought, the second-highest category available, the report said.

In addition, the state’s major reservoir capacities are still below normal.

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