With the statewide snowpack at only 52% of the norm for this time of year, state and federal water managers are expecting below-normal spring runoff and falling reservoir levels.
The last three months in California have been the driest of any January-through-March period on record, going back to 1895.
It has been a winter of extremes in the state, beginning with an unusually wet November and December and ending with a string of parched months.
"It's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde -- the changes we've had," said climatologist Kelly Redmond of the Western Regional Climate Center.
Storage in the state's two largest reservoirs, Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville, is a bit above normal for the date, thanks to the big storms in the Northern Sierra that turned the final three months of last year into the 10th-wettest on record for that region.