Droughts and Heat Waves

Officials: More than 40 percent of California out of drought

More than 40 percent of California is out of drought, federal drought-watchers said Thursday at the tail end of powerful storms that sent thousands of people fleeing from flooding rivers in the north, unleashed burbling waterfalls in southern deserts, and doubled the vital snowpack in the Sierra Nevada in little more than a week.

Declaring California as a whole to be past its official three-year drought emergency will be up to Gov. Jerry Brown, who will probably wait until the end of the winter rain and snow season to make that decision.

But for people in northern cities such as Sacramento, where state workers opened flood gates to ease pressure on levees for the first...