Recent Storms Are Making a Dent in California’s Drought; More Rain, Snow on the Way

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Caltrans worker Wendy Payne clears debris after heavy rains caused flooding along Highway 89 near Truckee. (Credit: Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

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A lull in a series of powerful winter storms gave Northern California a chance Monday to clean up from widespread flooding while also assessing how all that moisture is altering the state’s once-grim drought picture.

A few big storms alone won’t end the six-year drought, but there were growing signs that the so-called atmospheric river was making a major dent.

Officials released water from the Folsom Lake reservoir and several others as a flood control measure.

For the first time in 11 years, the floodgates of the Sacramento River were opened Monday morning, releasing a wall of water downstream into the Yolo Bypass, one of several drainage areas designed to catch floodwater. The National Weather Service warned farmers in that region to move farming equipment and livestock out of the way.

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