U.S.: California snowpack "way above average"
A California snowpack survey last week has created some optimism for drought recovery in the state, where January storms reportedly brought almost a year's worth of snow and rain in a single month.
California's Department of Water Resources said runoff from the overall Sierra Nevada snowpack stood at the highest level since 1995 for this point in the year, according to CBS News.
State officials reportedly say Governor Jerry Brown would 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 drought.
Frank Gehrke, the state’s snow-survey chief who conducts the snow surveys several times each winter, was quoted as saying "our snowpack overall is way above average," and that the latest survey "gives everything a much brighter outlook".
Typically, snowfall in the Sierra Nevada mountains during winter storms provides a third of the state's water through the year, as the drifts melt and flow into reservoirs.
The water content level at Phillips Station Thursday was 153% of the long-term average for that site, Gehrke said.
A recent report from the United States Drought Monitor also showed the drought seems to be easing in much of the state.
According to its data, at the end of January last year 64% of the state's surface area was classified as under "extreme drought conditions", but at the same time this year that figure had dropped to 2%.
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