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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 30, 2014 | By Bettina Boxall
Even with the first significant storm in nearly two months dropping snow on the Sierra Nevada, Thursday's mountain snowpack measurements were the lowest for the date in more than a half-century of record keeping. At 12% of average for this time of year, the dismal statewide snowpack underscored the severity of a drought that is threatening community water supplies and leaving farm fields in many parts of California barren. As snow survey crews worked, Gov. Jerry Brown met with Southern California water leaders as part of a series of drought meetings he is holding around the state.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NATIONAL
February 17, 2014 | By Michael Muskal
Two more skiers have been killed by a large avalanche, this one in Colorado, bringing to 15 the number of fatalities nationwide this season. The bodies of Justin Lentz, 32, and Jarrad law, 34, both of Portage, Wis., were recovered Sunday afternoon near Independence Pass, about 80 miles southwest of Denver, the Lake County Sheriff's Office said. Three other skiers were hospitalized for injuries. Lentz's father, Robert, said his son had been skiing since he was 5 or 6 years old. He was an electrician and engaged to be married.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 12, 2011 | By Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
On a June day, Frank Gehrke and Vince White strapped on their cross-country skis and glided across the wintry landscape of Dana Meadows in Yosemite National Park. The surrounding peaks were wrapped in snow, the breeze crisp enough for a hat and gloves. The men screwed together four sections of a hollow aluminum tube White had carried on his backpack. With a vigorous twisting of a handle attached to the cylinder, he drove it into the layers of snow. It didn't hit dirt for another 7 feet.
BUSINESS
February 6, 2014 | By Hugo Martín and Louis Sahagun
While the East Coast braces for another series of frigid storms, California ski resort operators are cursing Mother Nature for a winter of unseasonably warm temperatures and persistent blue skies. California's driest year on record has dropped snowpack levels to about 15% of the season average and reduced skier visitation numbers as much as 45%, compared with last year. To draw skiers and snowboarders to the slopes, some resorts are offering two-for-one ticket deals and $1 beers.
TRAVEL
May 20, 2012 | By Brian E. Clark, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Last summer, when the snowpack in the Sierra was twice its normal depth, rivers raged well into July. That meant many rafting outfitters were forced to turn away, for safety reasons, families with children younger than 8 until it was almost August. This year, if you're looking for a major white-water adrenaline rush, your options will be limited. With the Sierra snowpack at about 50%, rivers will peak for a short time in late May or early June. After that, moderate dam releases from streams mean flows will be mellow enough for parents who want to take their kids rafting, said Steve Merkle of rafting outfitter OARS.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 29, 2005
Surveyors will fan out across the Eastern Sierra Nevada on Friday to determine whether the snowpack associated with this season's near-record rain can melt into enough water to quench California's thirst. The annual spring snowpack measurement, conducted by the state's Cooperative Snows Survey Program, uses data from 300 snow courses to help predict how much water will be available this summer to farmers, wildlife, reservoirs and hydropower managers. Based on recent measurements, snowfall was below average in the northern Sierra and above average in the southern region.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 1, 2008 | Eric Bailey
Recent storms have boosted the snowpack above normal, but state water officials say that water exports to Southern California are being dramatically reduced to protect a tiny endangered fish. A survey by Department of Water Resources crews found the state's snowpack stood at 118% of normal for late February. Meanwhile, the department cut water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to about one-quarter of normal because of court-ordered protections of the delta smelt -- a pinkie-sized fish that can fall prey to the massive pumps that feed aqueducts to Southern California.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 3, 1994
The city's primary source of water, the snowpack in the High Sierra, is not high enough to meet the demand of Los Angeles residents, meaning rates will increase 9% next month to pay for additional water, officials at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said Wednesday. The snowpack is about two-thirds of normal levels, triggering an automatic rate increase, officials said. The new rate takes effect April 1 and will add about $3.60 to the average family's bimonthly bill.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2010 | By Bettina Boxall
Despite a return to normal snowpack and precipitation this winter, state officials said water shortages will continue this summer and urged continued conservation efforts. The Department of Water Resources on Thursday slightly increased allocations in the state system that helps supply urban Southern California. Managers said they might be able to raise projected deliveries again next month but warned that they expect the final numbers to be no more than last year -- about 40% of full allocation, which prompted rationing in many Southland cities, including Los Angeles.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 21, 2011 | By Ashlie Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
The hard-packed snow atop Franklin Creek in Sequoia National Park appeared safe, but when Marcia Rasmussen, 51, walked across, it collapsed, plunging her into an icy tunnel with frigid water. For three hours, in freezing temperatures, she clawed at the frozen ceiling, her bare hands going numb and her body giving out before passersby found her. FOR THE RECORD An article in the June 21 LATExtra about hiker Marcia Rasmussen identified Ed Patrovsky as a longtime friend of Rasmussen.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 30, 2014 | By Bettina Boxall
Even with the first significant storm in nearly two months dropping snow on the Sierra Nevada, Thursday's mountain snowpack measurements were the lowest for the date in more than a half-century of record keeping. At 12% of average for this time of year, the dismal statewide snowpack underscored the severity of a drought that is threatening community water supplies and leaving farm fields in many parts of California barren. As snow survey crews worked, Gov. Jerry Brown met with Southern California water leaders as part of a series of drought meetings he is holding around the state.
NEWS
May 20, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
Campers and visitors are urged to take extra care with campfires when visiting Yosemite National Park  because fire danger is higher than average for this time of year, according to a park announcement. Fire season in the park officially starts Monday. "The park is currently transitioning to fire season preparedness and fire resources will be available seven days per week for suppression efforts within the park," the statement said.  Some safety tips for campers, from the park's website: Campfires are allowed only between 5 and 10 p.m. from now through September in Yosemite Valley camps.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 1, 2013 | By Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
Teams will fan out across the Sierra Nevada on Thursday to perform their final snow survey of the season, a closely watched rite of spring that helps determine how much water will flow to farms and cities in coming months. But 18,000 feet above the Sierra slopes, an airborne experiment is underway that could revolutionize that ritual. Starting in early April, researchers have made weekly flights over the upper Tuolumne River basin, taking sophisticated instrument readings of the snow depth and reflected sunlight.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 29, 2013 | By Bettina Boxall
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 29, 2013 | By Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
When snow surveyors headed into the Sierra Nevada on Thursday for the most important measurement of the season, they found only about half the snowpack that is normal for the date. It could have been a lot worse - considering that 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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 28, 2013 | By Anthony York
SACRAMENTO -- Officials in Gov. Jerry Brown's administration say another dry winter underscores the need for the state to overhaul its water system. “The security of California's water supply is threatened,” said Natural Resources Secretary John Laird in an email statement, citing the “urgent need to continue work on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.” The snowpack in the Sierra Mountains, the source of the bulk of California's water supply, is about half of what it should be, according to snow surveying crews.
OPINION
May 17, 2003
Re "Forced to Take Out Old Friends" (May 13), about all the dead and dying trees being removed in the San Bernardino National Forest because of beetle infestation and drought: As a hiker of the forest, I have also noticed many signs of severe drought: the lack of a stable snowpack; the low-to-barely trickling streams and creeks; the low lake levels; the variety of dead and dying trees; the scorched, waxen leaves of dead and dying manzanita. My hope, as this prolonged drought manifests itself throughout the forest, is that we are not witnessing the ecological impact of global warming on the local level.
OPINION
February 10, 1991
For five years the politicians and bureaucrats of the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County have solved the water crisis by wringing their hands and talking about rationing. Meanwhile, in Santa Barbara, a water desalinization plant will be ready next year and a private developer in Catalina will soon have a plant in operation, while in the Mideast both Arabs and Israelis have been drinking purified water from the sea for years. Officials at the Department of Water and Power say it's too expensive to build a plant here.
NATIONAL
February 21, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Much of the West continues to struggle with unusually dry conditions, raising the prospect of another year of wildfires, stunted crops and unnavigable stretches of river in various parts of the country, according to a federal assessment. More than two-thirds of the country is under abnormally dry to exceptional drought conditions, "which, although serious, is a slight improvement since fall 2012," said the National Drought Early Warning Outlook. While the report said the drought was over in most of the nation east of the Mississippi River, the portion of the country still facing drought - most of the West and Florida - should expect it "to persist or intensify.
TRAVEL
May 20, 2012 | By Brian E. Clark, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Last summer, when the snowpack in the Sierra was twice its normal depth, rivers raged well into July. That meant many rafting outfitters were forced to turn away, for safety reasons, families with children younger than 8 until it was almost August. This year, if you're looking for a major white-water adrenaline rush, your options will be limited. With the Sierra snowpack at about 50%, rivers will peak for a short time in late May or early June. After that, moderate dam releases from streams mean flows will be mellow enough for parents who want to take their kids rafting, said Steve Merkle of rafting outfitter OARS.
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