Hay growers and other California residents had kept their fingers crossed that a melting snowpack this spring and summer would replenish the state’s reservoirs. But their hopes were dashed earlier this month when the state’s Department of Water Resources issued a report on its year-end snow survey.
“Today’s final snow survey of the year found more bare ground than snow as California faces another long, hot summer after a near-record dry winter,” the report says.
The May 1 survey showed the snowpack, which provides about one-third of the state’s water, at a “mere 18%” of average for the date. “With most of the wet season behind us, it is highly unlikely late-season storms will significantly dampen the effects of the three-year drought on parched farms or communities.”
At mid-month, the U.S. Drought Monitor showed that more than 75% of California was suffering extreme drought, a 17% increase from that gauged in February. Nearly 25% of the state was experiencing exceptional drought, up 15% from three months earlier.