After more than five years of drought in the western United States, above-average precipitation during the fall and winter months has finally delivered relief in 2017. While careful evaluation of the region’s primary water sources — surface water, snowpack, and groundwater — is still required to fully assess the recovery, California Gov. Jerry Brown officially ended in April the state of emergency in all but a few counties in the state.
To determine the cities that had the most remarkable recoveries, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 12 months of data for U.S. counties published weekly by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Drought severity ranges from abnormally dry conditions to moderate, severe, extreme, and exceptional levels. Exceptionally dry conditions can lead to widespread crop losses and water emergencies.
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Based on the latest Drought Monitor data, around 5% of the United States is in some state of drought, the lowest level ever recorded by the Drought Monitor, which started collecting data in 2000. There are 21 metro areas that recovered remarkably well from drought. In May of last year, 80% or more of the land area in each of these areas were classified as being in severe or worse levels of drought. Today, however, these 19 California and two Nevada metro areas are close to or completely free of drought.