California's snow survey shows far less snow than last month 

click to enlarge A snow plow clears snow from Highway 50 near Echo Summit, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014. Snow in the Sierra Nevada caused drivers to have to put chains on their vehicles to cross the summit. The California Department Water Resources held the first snow survey of the season near Echo Summit and found the snow pack to to be 21.3 inches deep. The water content of the snow measured Tuesday was about 33 percent of average. - AP PHOTO/RICH PEDRONCELLI
  • AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
  • A snow plow clears snow from Highway 50 near Echo Summit, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014. Snow in the Sierra Nevada caused drivers to have to put chains on their vehicles to cross the summit. The California Department Water Resources held the first snow survey of the season near Echo Summit and found the snow pack to to be 21.3 inches deep. The water content of the snow measured Tuesday was about 33 percent of average.

California's second snow survey finds the Sierra Nevada snowpack far below normal after a dry and unusually warm January.

Thursday's manual snow survey found a snow water equivalent of just 2.3 inches in the scant snowpack near Echo Summit, about 90 miles east of Sacramento.

That is just 12 percent of the long-term average for this time of year at that particular snow course.

Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program, says there was 7.1 inches of snow on the ground Thursday.

During the first winter snow survey on Dec. 30, there was 21.3 inches of snow on the ground after recent heavy storms.

The snowpack supplies about a third of the water needed by state residents, agriculture and industry.

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