State hydrologists measure how wet the Sierra snow is because runoff from that snow helps supply water to much of the state. The latest data from the Department of Water Resources shows the snowpack is about 81 percent of where it should be this time of year. Elissa Lynn is a Senior Meteorologist with the Department. She says less rain and less snow are like a one-two punch to the state’s reservoirs:
“So by the time you have three years like this in a row of below normal everything, you just end up in a kind of whole that’s hard to get out of.”
In February, Governor Schwarzenegger declared a drought state of emergency and urged all Californians to conserve. The state’s major reservoirs are still low, and farmers have left fields unplanted. That’s expected to cost tens of thousands of jobs in the Central Valley.