The Latest: Welcome storm raises key California snowpack

March 5, 2018

FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2018 file photo, Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program for the Department of Water Resources, leaves a snow covered meadow after conducting the second snow survey of the season near Echo Summit, Calif. Welcome drifts of fresh snow await California's water managers on their late-winter survey of the Sierra Nevada snowpack. California water officials were trooping into the mountains Monday, March 5, for the latest in their regular manual measurements of the year's snowfall. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

PHILLIPS STATION, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the measurement of Sierra Nevada snow, a vital source of California’s water supply (all times local):

12:05 p.m.

A welcome late-winter storm has more than quadrupled the snowpack in parts of California’s Sierra Nevada.

California water official Frank Gehrke measured 41.1 inches of snow Monday at Phillips Station in the Sierra.

Sierra snowpack typically provides a third of California’s water each year. This year has been unusually dry.

Gehrke says the same meadow had just 7 percent of its usual snowfall a couple of weeks ago. A big winter storm last week has brought that up to 39 percent.

He calls it “very encouraging.”


8 a.m.

Welcome snowdrifts await California’s water managers on their late-winter survey of the Sierra Nevada snowpack.

California water officials are trooping into the mountains Monday for the latest regular manual measurements of the year’s snowfall.

The snowpack historically has supplied Californians with about a third of their water for the year.

A late-winter storm last week has been piling up snow by the foot. That has eased the state’s plunge back into drought.

Water spokesman Chris Orrock says officials expect the storm to bring the state up to about half of the usual snowpack for this time of the year.

Before the storm, California had accumulated less than a quarter of normal snowfall. A dry February had pushed much of arid Southern California back into drought conditions.

Update hourly