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California's 'Dismally Meager' Snowpack Signals More Drought

Warren Cornwall, National Geographic on January 30, 2015

After measuring California's mountain snow on Thursday, state officials described it as "dismally meager" and predicted that a fourth year of drought is on the way.

Statewide, the water trapped in the form of snow is just a quarter of the amount usually found at this time of year, California's Department of Water Resources reported shortly after teams returned from measuring snow levels at Echo Summit in the Sierra Nevada mountains, southwest of Lake Tahoe. (Watch a video about new technology California is using to measure its mountain snowpack.)

Mountain snows provide, on average, nearly a third of California's water, with January typically the state's wettest month. (Read about failing snows in National Geographic magazine.)

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