This is how El Niño is affecting California's devastating drought.

Death Valley hasn't looked all that much like death lately.

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.


The California hotspot is the warmest, driest place in North America.

But from these gorgeous pics, you might not know it.

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

That's because Death Valley is in the midst of a "superbloom."

It's exactly as what it sounds like.

Photo by Robyn Deck/AFP/Getty Images.

Every decade or so, the conditions are just right for this beautiful landscape to dwarf the typically barren, eastern California countryside.

But how can this be when we all know California is in a no-good, historic, can't-water-the-lawn drought right now?

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

It turns out El Niño — a weather pattern not generally known for leaving good news in its wake — had a bit of input this year.

The high amounts of rainfall resulted in this beautiful landscape:

Photo by Robyn Deck/AFP/Getty Images.

To give you a little perspective, Death Valley on average sees a mere two inches of rain a year. So while El Niño didn't bring weeklong downpours to California, it definitely dropped enough precious water for Death Valley to look a little less barren.

Beyond Death Valley, El Niño is making a mark on California, which is in critical need of some H2O.

The Golden State is facing a major water crisis. Its drought, which has plagued the state since 2011, is the worst in over a century. And an El Niño — which happens every few years, when a warming Pacific Ocean brings exceptionally wet and stormy winters to the West Coast — has meant much-needed relief to parts of Northern California.

Although El Niño is certainly not a weather pattern to celebrate — it's caused dangerous flooding in San Diego (not to mention complete devastation in many other regions of the world) — it's difficult for Californians to pass up a good rain shower.


If any place needed the water, it was Shasta Lake, near Redding, California.


Things are looking up for Folsom Dam, northwest of Sacramento, too.


Feeling left out, Lake Oroville has bulked up as well.


And the Sierra Mountains? They're a lot whiter than they were in 2015.


The Sacramento River is running wetter than it has been throughout much of the last several years.

But don't be fooled: California's drought is far from over. And El Niño has actually been a bit of a bust, all things considered.

Just ask the folks in SoCal.

Despite the cheery pics and tweets above, El Niño has been relatively disappointing thus far for Californians, particularly in the southern portion of the state (there could be an early spring miracle, but I wouldn't hold my breath).

While January brought welcomed wet weather, February was pretty much as dry as a bone.

A dying Joshua Tree in California. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

"This year so far we haven’t had anything to write home about in Southern California," Tony Barnston of the Institute for International Research on Climate and Society told Mashable last month. "It’s been near normal, which is not good enough."

The crisis in California is a bleak reminder that a warming planet means more water scarcity.

Although climate change isn't single-handedly to blame for the Golden State's water woes, research found there's little doubt it's definitely exacerbating the problem.

This was Folsom Lake reservoir back in September 2015, when it was standing at only 18% capacity. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

But California is far from a one-off situation. Climate change is altering eco-systems (on land and under water) basically everywhere. And that has meant more wildfires, economic losses in agriculture, and, of course, severe droughts affecting millions of people across the globe.

That's why World Water Day (March 22) is so crucial.

Launched by the United Nations in 1993, World Water Day is an annual event that draws attention to how communities around the world are affected by water-related issues.

It's a worthy cause because — regardless if you live in Southern California or Sub-Saharan Africa — water is a precious resource none of us should take for granted.

Learn more about how you can get involved in World Water Day here.

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It was a mere three weeks ago that President Biden announced that the U.S. would have enough vaccine supply to cover every adult American by the end of July. At the time, that was good news.

Today, he's bumped up that date by two full months.

That's great news.

In his announcement to the nation, Biden outlined the updated process for getting the country immunized against COVID-19.


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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

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It's amazing to consider just how quickly the world has changed over the past 11 months. If you were to have told someone in February 2020 that the entire country would be on some form of lockdown, nearly everyone would be wearing a mask, and half a million people were going to die due to a virus, no one would have believed you.

Yet, here we are.

PPE masks were the last thing on Leah Holland of Georgetown, Kentucky's mind on March 4, 2020, when she got a tattoo inspired by the words of a close friend.

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via ABC News

Julia Tinetti, 31, and Cassandra Madison, 32, first met in 2013 while working at The Russian Lady, a bar in New Haven, Connecticut, and the two immediately hit it off.

"We started hanging out together. We went out for drinks, dinner," Julia told "Good Morning America." "I thought she was cool. We hit it off right away," added Cassandra

The two also shared a strong physical resemblance and matching tattoos of the flag of the Dominican Republic. They had a bond that was so unique, even their coworkers thought there must be something more happening.

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