California still in drought despite stormy weather

Traffic crosses the Golden Gate Bridge in the rain Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in this view from Sausalito, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. Stronger systems are predicted starting Tuesday following light rain a day earlier. At least two more storms are expected to follow on Wednesday and Thursday, possibly bringing as much as 3 inches of rain. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Traffic crosses the Golden Gate Bridge in the rain Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in this view from Sausalito, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. Stronger systems are predicted starting Tuesday following light rain a day earlier. At least two more storms are expected to follow on Wednesday and Thursday, possibly bringing as much as 3 inches of rain. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – California is still substantially in a drought, but don’t call it parched.

A year ago almost the entire state was in severe, extreme or exceptional drought. But since then, enough rain has fallen that a chunk of northwestern California is now back to normal, and the worst levels of drought designation have retreated somewhat to the central and southern regions.

A storm moving into the state early Friday will be followed by more fronts during the weekend.

The National Weather Service said there would be potential for moderate to heavy rainfall and thunderstorms as the system tapped subtropical moisture and remnants of moisture from former Hurricane Seymour in the Pacific Ocean west of Baja California.

Other storms are expected to follow during the weekend, with potential for snow in sections of the Sierra Nevada, which normally stores a huge amount of the state’s water supply in the form of a winter snowpack that eventually runs off into major reservoirs.

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