The last Sierra Nevada snowpack measurement of the season on Thursday confirmed what California officials have feared for months: The state has suffered through a dry winter.
The state Department of Water Resources announced that the snow was just 1.5 inches deep at its traditional measuring spot at Phillips Station, a vast field off Highway 50 near Echo Summit. The “snow water equivalent” was just a half an inch, or just 3 percent of average for this time of year.
The Phillips measurement was an outlier. A broader measurement taken by 130 electronic sensors throughout the Sierra revealed an average snow water equivalent of 8.4 inches, or 37 percent of average for this time of year.