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California declared "drought-free" but record rainfalls could lead to more mosquitoes

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LOS ANGELES (AP / NEWS 8) - California is free of drought for the first time in more than seven years and only a small amount of its territory remains abnormally dry as a very wet winter winds down, experts said Thursday.

More than 93 percent of the state is free of drought or dryness, and areas of abnormal dryness along the Oregon border and in parts of four southern counties amount to less than 7 percent of the state, the U.S. Drought Monitor said in its weekly update.

The conditions in the far south are because of very dry prior years, the monitor said, noting reservoirs in San Diego County are at only 65 percent of capacity. Abnormal dryness describes an area either entering drought or emerging from it, but below the four tiers of drought.

But as News 8's Richard Allyn reports, even before spring begins, environmental health officials in Los Angeles are warning that the recent rains have created havens for disease-spreading mosquitoes. 

Health officials are urging people to take precautions against the pests that can transmit everything from West Nile to Zika. 

Officials also warned that while the drought, at this moment, may be over, the need to conserve water is not. 

To prevent breeding grounds for mosquitoes, public health officials advised homeowners to get rid of standing water and other breeding areas and cover all water-filled containers with tight fitting lids. 

Officials said mosquito eggs need only a teaspoon of water to complete their life cycle. 

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