Only 36.44% of California remains in drought, according to data announced Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor, marking another significant improvement in conditions.
The date was valid through the morning of March 14, and showed that a series of atmospheric storms had improved conditions from a week earlier, when 43.06% of the state was in moderate or severe drought.
According to a map provided by the Drought Monitor, conditions are normal in all of Ventura County and 56% of Los Angeles County. An eastern swath of L.A. County is abnormally dry, and an area in the northeast is still in moderate drought.
All of Orange County and 58% of Riverside County remains abnormally dry. The rest of Riverside County is in moderate drought.
Seventy-one percent of San Bernardino County is also in moderate drought, and the rest of that municipality is either abnormally dry or in severe drought.
California has been drenched by a fire hose of moisture from the Pacific Ocean that has led to flooding, landslides and toppled trees.
Forty-four percent of the country is at risk of flooding as another atmospheric river threatens Southern California with rain early next week.
Ski resorts on the California-Nevada border are marking their snowiest winter stretch since 1971, when record-keeping began. In fact, the Sierra Nevada is on the verge of surpassing the second-highest snow total for an entire winter season, with at least two months still to go.
Federal forecasters on Thursday rolled predictions for temperature, precipitation and drought over the next three months, as well as the risk for springtime flooding.
"It will be a challenge to manage all this snowpack," said Brett Whitin, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service. "A lot of these rivers have limited channel capacity downstream. Getting that water out safely so they can manage it, without it spilling, is going to be a challenge."
But climate experts caution that the favorable drought maps represent only a blip on the radar as the long-term effects of a stubborn drought persist.
Groundwater levels are still low and it will take years for water to percolate down into underground aquifers.
The wet ground, however, could help when it comes to fire season.
"With the high amount of precipitation and snow pack, there's likely to be a delay, probably in the fire season in that part of the country," said Jon Gottschalck of the NOAA. "But it doesn't mean it couldn't end up being a very strong season. It's likely to be a more muted beginning for sure, and it may end up being a below average year."
Even as residents struggled to clean up before the next round of winter arrives in the coming days - with some 27,000 people still under evacuation orders statewide Wednesday - the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California's decision brought relief amid the historic drought.
The district supplies water for 19 million people in six counties. The board imposed the restrictions, which included limiting outdoor watering to one day a week, in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties last year during a severe shortage of state water supplies.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.