California started showing abnormally dry and rainless weather in 2012. The drought worsened over five years, showing up on maps as an alarming dark red color radiating from the center of the largest U.S. producer of fruits, nuts and vegetables.
Then, in 2017, it suddenly reversed. Rains inundating the state in early winter flooded the Oroville Dam, closed the road to Big Sur and killed two people. During the worst weekend of the floods — around Feb. 10 — California’s reservoirs swelled to 122 percent of average.