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California snowpack nearing record depths

The Sierra Nevada snowpack in some places is nearing levels last seen in 1983.

Published on March 1, 2017 1:47PM

Last changed on March 1, 2017 5:31PM

Frank Gehrke, right, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program for the Department of Water Resources, plunges the survey tube into the snowpack as he conducts the third manual snow survey of the season at Phillips Station, March 1, 2017, near Echo Summit, Calif. The survey showed the snowpack at 179 percent of normal for this location at this time of year. The state’s electronic snow monitors say the Sierra Nevada snowpack is at 185 percent of normal. At left is Armando Quintero chairman of the California Water Commission.

Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Frank Gehrke, right, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program for the Department of Water Resources, plunges the survey tube into the snowpack as he conducts the third manual snow survey of the season at Phillips Station, March 1, 2017, near Echo Summit, Calif. The survey showed the snowpack at 179 percent of normal for this location at this time of year. The state’s electronic snow monitors say the Sierra Nevada snowpack is at 185 percent of normal. At left is Armando Quintero chairman of the California Water Commission.


PHILLIPS STATION, Calif. (AP) — California surveyors say the Sierra Nevada snowpack is close to setting records after five years of punishing drought.

Officials said Wednesday the snowpack’s water content measured at 185 percent of normal. A year ago, it was 84 percent of normal.

The snowpack is vital because it provides one-third of the state’s water to homes and farms when it melts in the spring and summer.

Frank Gehrke, the state’s chief snow surveyor, said the snowpack in some places is nearing levels last seen in 1983.

State climatologist Michael Anderson calls the current levels historic, especially in the central and southern Sierra Nevada, where double the normal amount of snow has fallen.



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