“It’s been a nice little miracle month after five bad years,” said meteorologist David Miskus of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Strawberry Valley, Calif., received 20.7 inches of precipitation, and the Heavenly Ski Area near Lake Tahoe picked up a whopping 12 feet of snow. An area that stretches from Los Angeles and Santa Barbara was however in category of “exceptional” drought and because this problems remain. A drought emergency issued in early 2014 will remain in place until Gov. Jerry Brown lifts or eases it. The recent drought in California is merely part of a longer-term, 15-year drought across most of the western U.S. Nationwide, about 20% of the U.S. remains in a drought, primarily in parts of the southern Plains, the Southeast and the Northeast.