California drought: Recent storms helped, but more rain is needed


A recent series of storms is helping to ease drought conditions in Southern California.

But the National Weather Service says it’s not enough.

“The drought has been improving, obviously, because of all the extra rain we’ve had,” said Eric Boldt with the National Weather Service. “But we are still in a little bit of a dry scenario because we haven’t replenished reservoir storage and also the groundwater, where we get a lot of our drinking water.”

However, the wet winter is not over. Another series of storms is expected.

Boldt says it is a major improvement from last year.

“Last winter, we only had one storm through January and into February,” Boldt said. “This year we’ve had about seven storms of significance in terms of rainfall totals. We are about 5 inches above normal.”

The drought was a major blow to farmers in Ventura County. For many, the rain has been a welcome relief.

But the series of heavy storms has washed out the flavor in some strawberry crops and the freezing temperatures are not good for oranges.

“It does hurt the trees,” Demitrius Hernandez of Francisco’s Fruits in Fillmore said. “If our trees go below 32 degrees they’ll either stop producing or the oranges will not taste as good as they usually do.”

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