Drought conditions in the Golden State will likely continue even if it rains more.
USGS hydrologist Michelle Stern said wet weather conditions in the state would have to be 140% over its yearly average to effectively end the drought. She also notes that droughts and flooding are more or less a permanent part of California's climate, which is why those events "never completely go away." That's why it's important to reduce water use by taking shorter showers, running dishwashers and washers only when full, and landscape yards with drought-tolerant vegetation.
“The drought created a deficit of soil moisture storage, empty reservoirs, and groundwater that has been overdrafted for decades,” Stern, with USGS, said. “Surface reservoirs and soil moisture can recover in one wet season, whereas groundwater takes one to tens of thousands of years to recover."
“Atmospheric rivers are key to refilling our surface reservoirs and soil moisture, but we need more than one to get us back to normal conditions.”