>> These flood gates on the Sacramento river in Northern California opened for the first time in 11 years. The state harshed by its worst drought on record this week inundated with floods after a brutal storm lashed the West Coast. So, is the drought over? Reuters correspondent Sharon Bernstein has been watching the water for many years.
>> The reservoirs are full.>> The rivers are overflowing, a big dent has been made in the drought, but California water is complicated. And, a warm spring could melt all the snow, a dry winter, the rest of the winter if it were dry, there wouldn't be enough come spring, and a lot of this progress could be lost.
The snow pack in the Sierra Nevada mountains, well replenished by the storm, provides a third of California's water needs, and it's crucial it doesn't melt way before the spring and summer when it's needed to replenish streams and reservoirs during the state's long dry season. California water officials are so far optimistic.
The storms in the past months have relieved over 40% of the state from drought conditions. Now, just 2% of the state is experiencing what scientists call an exceptional drought. Still, California isn't ready to declare the drought over, although Governor Jerry Brown's administration has already begun working on long term conservation measures targeted to drier areas of the state.