It has been raining pretty heavily for a while now in California, where I live. That ought to be good news, but one would not know it by the news stories I see. They typically say two things:
1. The heavy rains may lead to flooding, mud slides, and similar problems.
2. The drought is not over.
My initial reaction to that pattern, in part due to spending too much time arguing climate issues online, was that the news media were pushing the orthodox line—climate change is bad—by focusing on the bad features of current weather and dismissing the fact that the increased rain signaled the end of a serious three year drought. My wife offered a different, and probably more nearly correct, interpretation. The claim that the drought is not over, taken as a statement about the weather, is false, since rainfall appears (casual observation—I have not seen comparative data) to be back up to at least its normal level. But it is an accurate description of the implications for humans. Three years of drought have left reservoirs very low and it will take more than a few weeks of rain to refill them.
The claim that the drought is not over, in her view, is designed not to reinforce climate worries but to persuade people to hold down their use of water, since the less is consumed the faster the reservoirs will refill.