VIDEO: California Snowpack Measures Up Dry

High Sierra Measurements of Potential Snowmelt Show No Drought Relief

The rain-year results for 2015 are not pretty: The snowpack statewide was 18 percent of normal as of March 10, according to the state Department of Water Resources (DWR), and the state climatologist predicts California needs 150 percent of normal rainfall by September to pull the state out of the drought. Snow provides California with much of its spring and summer water, along with water reservoirs and underground aquifers. How the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service measures high-elevation snowpack to determine its water content is shown in the video below.

Cold storms would have been needed in February and March to rebuild the snowpack throughout the state, and “the snow scarcity has serious implications for California’s drought,” the DWR states at its website. The department estimates April will provide the best barometer of how the year’s water supplies will shape up, though the current outlook indicates the snowmelt will not meet demand during late spring and summer.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Biggest Storm Since 1/9 Approaching Santa Barbara

The storm system brings increased threat of flash floods and debris flows.

Jack Johnson Tours Montecito Disaster Area Ahead of Benefit Concert

Jack and Kim Johnson met with Bucket Brigade leaders to see the destruction firsthand.

Iron Chef Caused State Street Pedestrian Death

Famous Chef Larry Forgione charged with misdemeanor for driving into Gilbert Ramirez on February 24.

Lavagnino’s Sudden Victory

5th District supervisor a shoo-in as filing window closes; Gregg Hart also unopposed for 2nd District.

One Half of Old Town Streets to Get Sidewalks

Walkways planned for one side of Goleta neighborhood streets; parking, lighting talks at community meeting March 22.