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How wet will California's 2017-2018 winter be?

California received an enormous amount of precipitation during the 2016-2017 winter season, both in rainfall across the state, as well as in mountain snowfalls. Measurements throughout the Sierras indicated end-of-season snowpacks approaching 200% of average.

The deluge represented a remarkable turnaround for an epic five-year drought. On January 17, 2014 California State Governor, Jerry Brown, declared a drought state of emergency. Slightly more than three years later, on April 17, 2017, Brown issued Executive Order B-40-17, officially ending the drought state of emergency in all California counties except Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Tuolumne.

At the time of this writing, the National Drought Monitor reports that 76.47% of California's land area is free of any category of drought conditions, with only 1.06% of the state, largely in Imperial County, still suffering from category D2, that is, "severe" drought.

Long-term weather forecasts are notoriously difficult to get right, but wet and dry seasons in California do tend to display positive autocorrelation. We thus distill next year's precipitation outlook into a single numerical question.

On July 1, 2018, what fraction of California will be listed by the National Drought Monitor as being free of any (D0-D4) form of drought conditions?


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