Drought returns to California due to lengthening dry winter

California

FILE – Irrigation water runs along the dried-up ditch between the rice farms to provide water for the rice fields on Thursday, May 1, 2014, in Richvale, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Drought has returned to California due to a significantly dry winter.

The U.S. Drought Monitor’s weekly report Thursday designates the central and southern Sierra Nevada and adjacent areas of the Central Valley as being in moderate drought.

California had been drought-free since early December. The Drought Monitor also expanded a designation of “abnormally dry” into San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and parts of northeastern California.

A week earlier the abnormally dry status applied to the Central Valley and a swath from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Sierra, as well as parts of the California-Oregon border.

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