Storm Barely Makes Dent in Drought

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The storm that brought nearly three inches of rain to Sacramento over the weekend was too warm to provide much drought relief, according to California's Department of Water Resources (DWR). It did little to help the snowpack in the Sierra.

Sacramento has now received a normal amount of rainfall for this point in the season, about 12 inches. But the Sierra snowpack is at just 25 percent of average for this time of year.

"And the story is much worse as you head south into the San Joaquin Valley where they really didn't get the December storms," explained DWR snow survey chief, David Rizzardo. "They benefited from this one. But again, not much snow, and reservoir storage is pretty dire at this point."

At Folsom Reservoir, which supplies water for Sacramento, the outlook is better. The reservoir is at about 90 percent of average for this time of year. But there too, looks can be deceiving.

"Certainly people will remember what last summer looked like, and go wow, we're doing pretty good," said Rizzardo. "But again, that's all rainfall driven, and there's really not much of a snowpack above it. And that's where we worry because the snowpack is what fills us in into the summertime and carries us into next year."

According to Rizzardo, it would take an unprecedented series of storms at this point to pull California out of drought by the end of this season.

"It takes a couple years to get into one, and so it really does take quite a bit to get out of one."

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