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Thanks, nature! Arizona takes big step away from drought

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Thanks to recent rain, Arizona is not experiencing extreme or exceptional drought for the first time in years, the National Weather Service said.

At this time last year, about 4 percent of the state fell into one of the aforementioned categories. Mark O’Malley with the weather service said a series of monsoon storms played a big role in this improvement.

“It has been three or four years since we’ve seen drought levels this positive,” he said. “Only a small portion of the state is in moderate or severe drought.

“It wasn’t just this summer’s monsoon. It was the cumulative effect of the past several monsoon seasons. If this winter is anything like the past strong El Nino’s we’ve seen across the state, further improvement is possible for the next several months.”

While Arizona’s drought situation appears to be on the mend, nearly 75 percent of California is in either an exceptional or extreme level of dryness. O’Malley doesn’t believe even a powerhouse El Nino loaded with rain and snow will be enough to end the Golden State’s water plight.

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