The state Department of Water Resources is slated to do the winter’s first manual measurement of the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.
Abundant snowfall in the mountains would be an important part of ending one of the worst droughts in more than a century of record keeping.
State officials say California’s snowpack supplies about a third of the water needed by the state’s residents, agriculture and industry as it melts in the late spring and summer.
After three straight years of below-average snow and rainfall, surface and groundwater reservoirs are depleted. That isn’t likely to change unless rain and snow this year are above historical averages. Though December was wet, the storms were warmer than needed to generate greater-than-normal snowfall in the Sierra Nevada.