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California Drought: Big October Storm's Deluge Draining Out Of Lake Sonoma

SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) -- It is going to take more than sporadic rain showers to make any progress against the drought. It will take more storms, and a lot of them. In places like Lake Sonoma, the big October storm is running out of legs.

"The rain is totally great to have," says Chris Tito of Wilson Vinyards. "If you want the wine, you need the rain."

A little rain, with more in the forecast, is great news in Dry Creek Valley, just as it is welcome news over the other side of the dam.

"We're still in a drought, no doubt about that," says Barry Dugan with the Sonoma County Water Agency. "Lake Sonoma is currently just under 50% of its capacity. But that's down from 67% at the same time last year."

For Sonoma County's reservoirs, the late October atmospheric river was a spectacular moment of temporary relief. The intervening weeks have seen just enough rain to keep water moving into Lake Mendocino, but not the system's larger reservoir.

"We've seen Lake Sonoma kind of stop," Dugan says. "Now starting to lose a little bit of capacity. So, we're starting to see the saturation level decline a little bit."

Lake levels show Sonoma received a boost from the storm, followed by a flat line. While a little rain will help recharge the ground, the area desperately needs more significant storms.

"So we're just hoping that we can get this weather pattern to change enough that we get a regular series of storms throughout December and into January," Dugan says.

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