ECHO SUMMIT, Calif. – The first snow survey of the Sierra Nevada snowpack this winter found more snow than last year at this time, but not enough to impact the California drought.
The Department of Water Resources conducted the survey Tuesday about 90 miles east of Sacramento.
Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program, said there were 21.3 inches of snow on the ground.
Following recent storms, he said, the survey found more snow in the mountains than last year at this time, but the water content is still far below average for the date.
California's snowpack supplies about a third of the water needed by state residents, agriculture and industry as it melts in the late spring and summer.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
ECHO SUMMIT, Calif. (AP) — The state Department of Water Resources is slated to do the winter's first manual measurement of the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.
Abundant snowfall in the mountains would be an important part of ending one of the worst droughts in more than a century of record keeping.
State officials say California's snowpack supplies about a third of the water needed by the state's residents, agriculture and industry as it melts in the late spring and summer.
After three straight years of below-average snow and rainfall, surface and groundwater reservoirs are depleted. That isn't likely to change unless rain and snow this year are above historical averages. Though December was wet, the storms were warmer than needed to generate greater-than-normal snowfall in the Sierra Nevada.