LOS ANGELES (AP) – Drought conditions have retreated from nearly half of California after January’s onslaught of storms. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports Thursday that moderate, severe or extreme drought continues in just 51.4 percent of the state and the remainder has either zero indicators or a condition called abnormally dry. The worst level, exceptional drought, has vanished entirely and the extreme level applies to little more than 2 percent of the state northwest of Los Angeles. After five years of drought covering virtually the entire state, the turnabout began with a rainy fall and has continued into winter. The Drought Monitor notes, however, that despite significant rain and snow groundwater levels remain critically low and water is still being trucked in to supply residents of some areas where wells have run dry.