Dramatic images show El Niño beginning to rescue California from its drought

No, California’s drought isn’t over. But this week, the state came to terms with the fact that the series of El Niño-influenced storms has made a dent.

State officials say it’s far too early to declare the drought over — especially given that the rains seem to have focused on Northern California, while Southern California has seen comparatively little rain. But reservoir levels are rising, along with the snowpack. Both are key sources of water for the state.

Here is a look at how Northern California’s water situation has changed:

MORE: Reservoirs are getting a big boost from ‘Miracle March’ — but the drought isn’t over yet >>

1. Lots of snow ...

California’s main water reservoir is its snowpack, which is much fuller now than it was a year ago. @NOAA— John Upton (@johnupton) March 17, 2016


#snow so far in Homewood is 22 in! The West Shore of Lake Tahoe will have heavier snowfall rates thru 11pm.— NWS Reno (@NWSReno) March 14, 2016

From @NASA MODIS: #Snow capped #Sierra, swollen #SacramentoRiver, and silty runoff into #SanFrancisco Bay & Pacific— NWS Reno (@NWSReno) March 15, 2016

#cawx Fresh snow at the Sentinel & Half Domes @YosemiteNPS #California shared by @NWSHanford #cawater— Ed Joyce (@EdJoyce) March 6, 2016

#cawx @NWSReno: Approximate 12-hr-change in snow depths @sugarbowlresort & @MammothMountain #California #cawater— Ed Joyce (@EdJoyce) March 7, 2016

2. ... and lots of rain ...

Heavy rains soak Northern California, causing flooding and some evacuations— L.A. Times: L.A. Now (@LANow) March 14, 2016

Rain, Snow Pelt Northern California After Morning Dry Spell— ABC News (@ABC) March 13, 2016

Boat ramp at Garcia Bend Park here in the #Pocket after the recent rain. #Sacramento— Will Cannady (@PocketPride) March 14, 2016

Sacramento River running brown after days of rain. #ElNino— NWSBayArea (@NWSBayArea) March 15, 2016

3. ... work to fill reservoirs

El Nino is helping California - take a look at the latest reservoir numbers. We could use some of that rain. #azwx— Paul Horton (@PaulHortonCBS5) March 17, 2016

California Reservoir Dumps Water in a Drought, But Science Could Change That via @lesommer— Paul Rogers (@PaulRogersSJMN) March 2, 2016

Shasta reservoir (California’s largest) level has done an impressive hockey-stick higher in the last few weeks— Paul Kedrosky (@pkedrosky) March 15, 2016

.@usbr will increase releases from Keswick Dam below Lake Shasta tonight. Last release this high: 6/3/2011 #cawx— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) March 17, 2016

A healthy Lake Shasta this afternoon- 110% of average and 85% capacity! #SacValley #cawater #cawx— Sacramento Valley (@SacValleyCA) March 17, 2016

Lake Oroville’s amazing compback. Courtesy Mark Tamayo— Bill Martin (@BillMartinKTVU) March 17, 2016

I don’t even recognize Lake Oroville any more! Taken today, courtesy @ActionNewsNow viewer Gonzalo Curiel #CaWx— Cecile Juliette KHSL (@CecileJuliette) March 16, 2016

Images of reservoir in drought-stricken California in 2014, 2016 highlight major differences— AP West Region (@APWestRegion) March 15, 2016

See the difference. Drag the slider to compare the images.

The Almaden Reservoir, near San Jose, was full of water on Monday after four straight days of rain. The downpour has replenished several key reservoirs in drought-stricken California. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

READ MORE: Reservoirs are getting a big boost from ‘Miracle March’ — but the drought isn’t over yet >>


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Updated on Friday at 7:40 a.m. with additional images.