California sees heavy snowpack amid severe drought

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California mountain snowpack is headed for one of its best starts in 40 years, officials said Tuesday, raising hopes that the drought-stricken state will soon see spring relief when the snow will melt and flow. in reservoirs that supply water for drinking water and agriculture.

Statewide snowfall at 174 percent of the historic average for this year, an impressive number due to a string of recent storms. More snow is expected later this week and into the weekend, giving officials hope for a much-needed wet winter.

“While we’re seeing a great snow pack — and that in itself may be a reason to breathe a sigh of relief — we’re far from out of the woods when it comes to the drought,” said Karla Nemeth, director of the California department. water resources.

READ MORE: Abnormally warm winters means lack of snow on alpine slopes

State Department officials measured the snow and water content in the community of Phillips, just west of Lake Tahoe, marking the first snow report of the winter. The snow there was at a depth of 55.5 inches (140.97 centimeters) — enough to store 17.5 inches (44.45 centimeters) of water. That’s 177 percent of the historic average for this station.

California’s past three years have been the driest on record, dating back to 1896. State officials have severely limited water supplies to farmers, while Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom urged residents and businesses to conserve water.

About one-third of California’s water supply comes from melting snow in the mountains of Northern California. About 75% of California’s rain and snow comes from watersheds north of Sacramento. But about 80% of the state’s water needs come from Southern California, where most of the residents live.

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