California Snowpack at Half of Normal, Surveyors Say

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PHILLIPS STATION (AP) — The Sierra Nevada’s first snowpack survey of the season on Tuesday found water content at about half of normal, as the state possibly enters a sixth year of drought.

Surveyors took the readings near Lake Tahoe as major storms were bearing down on California, likely to boost the snowpack.

Frank Gehrke, the state’s chief snow surveyor, said the water content measured at 53 percent of normal. Despite the low level, he says it’s a good start.

Forecasters say the major storm will pound Northern and Central California this week.

National Weather Service forecaster Bob Benjamin says four to five feet of snow is expected in mountains above 5,000 feet.

Rain is also expected to increase over the next couple days and become more widespread in the San Francisco Bay Area.