Snow survey confirms driest January, February on record

ECHO SUMMIT — It's official, and it's not good news for thirsty Californians: January and February have been the driest on record.

The monthly snow survey, anticipated by farmers and municipalities who depend on snowmelt to supplement water supplies, showed Thursday what everyone has known: despite a few good dumps the state hasn't received the kind of major storms needed to ease water managers' worries.

"It's disappointing, but not really a surprise," said Frank Gehrke, who as head of California's cooperative snow survey program takes manual measurements once a month near Echo Summit in El Dorado County to supplement electronic monitoring.

Gehrke measured 29 inches of snow with a water content of 13.4 inches. The dismal numbers still are twice as much as what was on the ground at this time last year, he said.

There is potentially good news coming by the middle of next week when the National Weather Service forecasts a sizeable storm that could bring more than two-feet of snow across the northern and southern Sierra and up to three-quarters of an inch of rain to the valley.

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