California storm not expected to break drought

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Any rain is welcome news, but what we really need is snow. (KFSN)

Any rain is welcome news, but what we really need is snow. And this storm isn't going to give us enough rain or snow to help fill canals and ultimately find relief from the drought.

Gary Sanger, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service in Hanford, is confident we're heading into a fourth year of drought.

"Since January of 2011 we've seen very dry years overall," said Sanger.

Sanger says we need 14 1/2 inches of rain to make up for the past three dry winters. Then we need another 11 inches of rain for this winter. The real problem is in the Sierra. Snowmelt fills our reservoirs each winter, but when there's no rain, there's no snow at the higher elevations.

"We're not replacing our water, we're continuing to use it so we have to conserve," said Kim Loeb, Visalia's natural resource conservation manager.

Loeb says it's everyone's responsibility to continue to save water. In Visalia, there's no watering allowed in February at all.

"We use average every year over 60 percent of our water just to water our lawns and our yards," said Loeb.

Springtime monsoons might bring more water, but it won't be the 25 1/2 inches that we need.

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