SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — Sunday’s atmospheric river storm has eased drought conditions in Marin County, but the region has a long way to go before it emerges from the bone-dry conditions that have led to parched hillsides and water use restrictions, according to federal drought officials.

On Thursday, federal officials released the first drought monitor map since the weekend torrential rains flooded downtown San Rafael and dumped more than 16 inches on Mt. Tamalpais, more than 10 inches on Kentfield and more than 5 inches in both Petaluma and Novato.

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Before the storm, much of the county was in the worst designation — an exceptional drought. On Thursday, federal officials said the area has been elevated to an extreme drought.

Conditions also improved in San Francisco and Sonoma counties which both now fall into the extreme drought category.

But it also showed how far the Bay Area needs to go before the drought ends.

Jeanine Jones, interstate resources manager for the California Department of Water Resources, said people should not think about drought “as being just this occasional thing that happens sometimes, and then we go back to a wetter system.”

“We are really transitioning to a drier system so, you know, dry becomes the new normal,” she said. “Drought is not a short-term feature. Droughts take time to develop, and they usually linger for quite some time.”

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Still North Bay water officials were encouraged by the storm.

“It was a great weekend for us water nerds, and water managers” says Brad Sherwood of the Sonoma County Water Agency. “This storm is actually bigger than we forecasted and thought.”

Last week, the East Fork of the Russian River was barely crawling into Lake Mendocino. Now, the river is carrying the weekend storm, and as of Monday, the lake was up 5,000 acre-feet.

“Lake Sonoma, just from this rainfall, has received over 13,000 acre-feet into that reservoir,” said Sherwood.

“One of our smallest lakes, Phoenix Lake, is spilling now,” said Marin Municipal Water District spokeswoman Emma Detwiler.

Marin County is now in the midst of its wettest October since 1890, and the storm has had a dramatic impact on the water system.

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“We have ended up with 17″ total, and that brought our reservoir levels are up just over 11%,” Detwiler says. “And we actually expect the next couple of days our reservoir levels to continue to rise as the additional wrong way down and into the reservoirs.”