California Faces An Extremely Cruel And Dry Summer


California's final snow survey of the year doesn't bring any good news for the drought-stricken state.


On Thursday, water officials said that the water content in the statewide snowpack was 18% of normal for the date. The snow in the Sierra mountains provides roughly one-third of water used for cities and farms as it melts during the spring months and flows into streams and reservoirs.

"California's reservoirs obviously will not be significantly replenished by a melting snowpack this spring and summer," the Department of Water Resources said in a news release.

The snowpack is measured during the wet season and normally peaks at the beginning of April, according to NBC News' local affiliate in Southern California. On April 1, the water content was at 32% of normal for that time of year.

The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that entire state is under moderated to exceptional drought, which follows three extremely dry years.



U.S. Drought Monitor

After declaring a drought state of emergency in January of this year, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a another executive order at the end of April to reinforce efforts to conserve water.

"Anyone who doesn't think conservation is important should drive up the hill and take a look," Mark Cowin, the director of California's Department of Water Resources, said in a statement. "Coupled with half our normal rainfall and low reservoir storage, our practically nonexistent snowpack reinforces the message that we need to save every drop we can just to meet basic needs."

The Climate Prediction Center, which issued its latest seasonal drought outlook on April 17, said that the drought will continue and likely worsen throughout California going into a much drier time of year. The dark brown patches in the map below indicate areas where an ongoing drought is expected to intensify.