Despite gains California's snowpack still below average

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Many rely on the Kings River to irrigate their crops. Last year's water supply was at 244 percent. (KFSN)

While California saw more rain and snow in the month of January the wet weather only had a minor influence on the state's snowpack.

Measurements at the Philips Station in El Dorado County show the state's snowpack at 14 percent of average that is better than January's three percent but still not good enough.

"That will tell us how much water supply will make into Pine Flat when the snowpack ultimately melts this summer," said Steven Haugen.

Steven Haugen is with the Kings River Water Association. He says the Department of Water Resources Snow Surveys is just the first step in building a water supply forecast for valley farmers.

Many rely on the Kings River to irrigate their crops. Last year's water supply was at 244 percent.

"This year if you assume normal rainfall, precipitation, snowpack accumulation over the remainder of the season we could be looking at a 40 to 50 percent water supply year," said Haugen.

Record high levels and release from Pine Flat Dam flooded areas along the river, including the Kings River Golf and Country Club.

Nearly eight months later conditions are the complete opposite, dry with very mild temperature.

"Obviously we are already seeing snow melting and probably the most disappointing thing is that we are not seeing anything changing anytime soon," said Tim Cohee.

Up at the China Peak Mountain Resort, the lack of snow and unseasonably warm conditions are hurting Cohee's business.

The resort was forced to shut down at the beginning of January and Cohee is worried that could happen again.

He says he never faced that situation during the state's historic drought.

"This is far worse than that. As I said it has been over four decades since I started and I have never seen anything like it, anything even close," said Cohee.
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