Record dry raises fears of drought’s return in California

PHILLIPS STATION, Calif. (AP) — It’s been almost a year since Los Angeles residents felt any real rain, and precious little snow is in the Sierras, but water managers say it’s too early for fears that California is sliding back into drought as abruptly as the state fell out of it.
Plunging rods into snowpacks to measure the snow depth, water managers use the event to acquaint Californians with the state of the water supply.
Southern California wildfires that grew to the biggest in state history in December — normally the rainy season in California — already have made clear the bottom line: The state is far drier than normal so far this winter.
Near-record rainfall last year unleashed widespread flooding and snapped a historic five-year drought.
The wet 2017 allowed Gov.
Jerry Brown in April to lift a drought emergency declaration that had brought mandatory water conservation orders for cities and towns, and water cutbacks for many rural users.
Snowpack in the Sierras, which supplies a steady flow of water in good years as the snow melts, stood Tuesday at one-fourth of normal for this point in the year.
It’s not time to despair, yet, Carlson said.
Last year’s copious rains have left reservoirs with plenty of water.
And it’s early in the winter rainy season yet — California normally receives half its rain between December and February.

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