The Latest on California’s first measurement of the state’s crucial Sierra snowfall (all times local):
California’s water managers are measuring as little as 3 percent of normal snowpack in areas of the Sierra Nevada mountains as they conduct the first manual surveys of the state’s crucial winter snowfall.
Water managers took the measurements Wednesday in a grassy Sierra meadow that was almost bare of snow.
Up to 60 percent of California’s water supply starts out as snow in the Sierras. Snowpack so far this year is a fourth of normal across the region.
Department of Water Resources director Grant Davis says state reservoirs still have good supplies from a rainy winter last year. Davis notes the state still has ample time left for big snowstorms.
Davis says there is still a lot of winter left to make up the precipitation.
California’s water managers are saying it’s too early for fears that the state is sliding back into its historic five-year drought.
Water officials carry out the first of their routine seasonal snow surveys in the Sierras on Wednesday. Water officials use the event to take stock of the Sierra snowpack, which supplies Californians with nearly two-thirds of their water supply in a good year.
Last month’s record wildfires in Southern California already have made clear that this year is unusually dry so far. The National Weather Service says residents of Los Angeles last saw significant rain in February. That makes the past 10 months the driest on record there.
Sierra snowpack stands at one-fourth of normal.
Department of Water Resources spokesman Doug Carlson says state reservoirs are in good shape after last year’s rains. Carlson says the state’s peak rainy season still has two months to go.