Striking satellite photos from space show California’s transformation from dry to lush

Hikers on a scenic trail at Irvine Ranch Open Space in Orange County
Hikers explore a new trail system in the Saddleback Wilderness in Orange County.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Photos from NASA show the California landscape turning from brown to green after recent winter storms.

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With an incredibly wet winter comes a major shift in the landscape of previously parched California.

Reflecting on a wild winter, California Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth said at a recent meeting of the agency that the state was “unique across the western U.S.” in its capacity to “move from very, very wet to very, very dry and back to very, very wet.”

The image below shows the incredible change from space.

Satellite photos from NASA show California on Aug. 16, 2022 (left) and on March 26, 2023.
(NASA MODIS Maxar via Los Angeles Times)

The photo on the left, from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, shows the state on Aug. 16, 2022.

By the time the photo on the right was captured, on March 26, 2023, deep browns had been replaced by lush greens. Snow blanketed the Sierra.

Gov. Gavin Newsom significantly rolled back drought restrictions last week. Nearly two-thirds of the state was no longer in drought as of March 21, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

In images

A mountain biker rides on a diagonal dirt path through lush green landscape
A mountain biker rides through the lush green landscape brought on by the rainstorms at the Hidden Valley Wilderness Area on Feb. 13 in Riverside.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Two adults and a child beside a waterfall
Kareem Sharaf, his 2-year-old son, Ray, and a companion explore a waterfall that appeared in Dana Point because of the recent heavy rainfall.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A hiker walks amid flowers in bloom on March 29 in Rancho Palos Verdes.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

A man hikes with his dog on a trail in Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, with a view downtown
A hiker with his dog on a trail in Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area on March 24.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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