Manual and automated readings of the snow on the Sierra Nevada conducted Thursday by hydrologists from the state Department of Water Resources revealed only 12 percent of the water content expected at this time of year, according to a DWR news release. Snowmelt runoff normally provides about a third of the water used by California farms and cities.
The readings Thursday were the lowest measured water content since the state began keeping records in 1960. During the drought of 1977, the water content was 25 percent of normal. During the drought of 1991, the water content was 21 percent of normal.
According to DWR, 2013 was the driest calendar year on record since 1895.
A Tracy rain gauge for the Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow Network, at a home near the intersection of West 11th Street and Corral Hollow Road, measured 0.20 inches of rainfall overnight Wednesday.