PHILLIPS STATION, Calif. (AP) — Clambering through a snowy meadow with drifts up to the tree branches, California’s water managers measured the state’s vital Sierra Nevada snowpack Thursday at a drought-busting and welcome 173 percent of average.
Runoff from the overall Sierra snowpack, which provides arid California with a third of its water in a good year, stood at the highest level since 1995 for this point in the year, California’s Department of Water Resources said.
State officials say Gov. Jerry Brown will wait until closer to the end of California’s rain and snow season this spring to decide whether to lift an emergency declaration addressing the devastating five-year drought.
But Thursday’s snowpack reading, which took place in a meadow that had been bare of snow at the height of the drought, was good news.
“It gives everything a much brighter outlook,” said Frank Gehrke, the state’s snow-survey chief, who conducts the snow surveys …
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