Sierra Snowpack Below Normal; Driest Year on Record
California has officially shattered an all-time record for the driest January and February in the northern Sierra since record-keeping began in 1921. This year, the area has received only 2.3 inches of precipitation.
The northern Sierra is crucial in providing statewide water supplies because snow melt fills reservoirs. But Thursday's snowpack readings show water content at only 66 percent of normal for the date.
That has farmers in the Central Valley worried. Paul Wenger is President of the California Farm Bureau.
"It's going to have some dire effects for those folks in the Central Valley that were thinking that they were going to be able to plant, especially some of the annual crops that now won't be planted because they're going to try to save that water for the perennial crops, the trees and the vines and the other things that are already in the ground," said Wenger.
Wenger said there is always the possibility of a wet March, but it's unlikely to be enough to fill the reservoirs and provide what's needed for farmers.
But most key storage reservoirs are full - this means there won't be any issues with drinking water for now.