State water experts say snow in the Sierra Nevada increased sixfold in the past month, but the snow and the monthlong parade of storms that brought it hasn't ended the five-year drought.
Still, it's getting harder to convince Californians that they should conserve.Jack Pardee of the Water Resources Department said a survey Thursday found March storms raised the snow level to two-thirds to three-quarters of normal.
A month ago, it was a quarter normal - the lowest on record in some areas.
The storms have dumped more than double the normal March rain and snow on California.
"There's probably a lot of people who don't think there's a drought," said Sacramento water chief Jim Sequeira.
But for the rain year that began last July, statewide totals are only about two-thirds to three-quarters of average, according to the state Department of Water Resources. Reservoir storage across the state is just over half normal.
In the Sierra Nevada, monthly measurements at one monitoring station found the snowpack had increased from 12.3 inches at the end of February to 76.7 inches, officials said.
And the water content of the snowpack increased from the equivalent of 3.4 inches at the end of February to 20.4 inches Thursday. Normal would be about 29 inches.
The storms have toppled ancient redwoods, turned mountain freeways into snowy parking lots and pushed creeks over their banks.
"It's hard to stand out in the rain and call for water conservation, but it's something I've got to do," said drought center spokesman Jeff Cohen.