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Water is shown being let out of the Nimbus Dam, which is down river from the Folsom Dam, near Rancho Cordova, Calif. Feb. 11, 2016. Reuters

A year ago, 97 percent of California was experiencing a drought. Today, due to recent weeks of heavy rain and snow storms, more than 40 percent of the state is now free from drought conditions federal officials said Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

The development is technically a mixed bag for California, which Gov. Jerry Brown officially dubbed a drought emergency with his declaration in January 2014. Northern California, as well as parts of Nevada and Oregon, have faced severe storms that have caused mudslides, flooding and heavy snowfall, CNN reported Tuesday.

Earlier this week, state officials said it's unlikely Brown will lift or change the drought declaration until after the snow and rain season has ended.

But the storms have also helped fill lakes, rivers and covered mountains with snow, allowing that water to trickle down to the deprived surrounding areas.

Thus far, only 2 percent of California – between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara - still falls under the most severe drought label, which includes dried up wells, reservoirs and streams. However, around this time last year, 43 percent of the state was experiencing the starkest drought conditions.

For nearly six years California has dealt with drought conditions, but the rainfall in the north has dropped billions of gallons of water. As of Tuesday, Lake Tahoe, shared by both California and Nevada, has risen by 12 inches over the last two weeks as a result of 33.6 billion gallons of rain, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Furthermore, also as of Tuesday, 154 of the state’s biggest reservoirs have reached 97 percent of their “collective average for the day” compared to 50 percent or less last year, a California Department of Water Resources hydrologist told the Times.

All told, between Jan. 1 and Tuesday, 423 billion gallons of rain had hit the state, which would be enough for more than 2.5 million families.

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