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The Latest: Winter storms swell California snowpack
Published in 3-4-2019
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OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) The Latest on California officials using a spillway at the nation's tallest dam for the first time in two years and surveying mountain snowpack (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

California officials say the Sierra Nevada snowpack is now 162% of average to date, a measurement that determines the outlook for the state's water supplies.

A measurement on a snowy Tuesday at Phillips Station near Lake Tahoe found a snow depth of 106.5 inches (287 centimeters) and a snow water equivalent of 51 inches (129.5 centimeters).

A snow water equivalent is the depth of water that theoretically would result if the entire snowpack melted instantaneously.

Experts say a very wet winter has left California drought-free for the first time since December 2011.

Phillips Station is where then-Gov. Jerry Brown attended a snowpack survey in April 2015 that found a field barren of any measureable snow during a historic drought. He later ordered California residents to use less water.


11:20 a.m.

Water is flowing down the rebuilt spillway of the nation's tallest dam for the first time since it crumbled two years ago and threatened to flood California communities.

Live video by the California Department of Parks and Recreation shows a light stream of water flowing down the main spillway Tuesday. It comes as spring storms are expected to swell the lake behind Oroville Dam this week.

Molly White with the state Department of Water Resources says crews may increase how much water is released if needed.

In early 2017, the dam's half-century-old spillway broke apart as it carried heavy flows from storms. That drove nearly 200,000 people from their homes over fears of catastrophic flooding.

Officials say the rebuilt spillway was "designed and constructed using 21st century...