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Scant snowpack: More misery

Drought-weary Californians can't expect much encouragement from mountains elsewhere in the West: Snow that fills the Colorado River is lagging, too.

Federal officials said Friday that after a dry March, snowpack ranged from 51 to 79 percent of normal in the Colorado and Wyoming valleys where the river originates.

The Colorado River supplies water to about 40 million people and 6,300 square miles of farmland in seven states, including California.

The Rocky Mountain snow that melts into the river doesn't flow directly to downstream users. It's held in a series of reservoirs that release enough water to fulfill southwestern states' legal allotment.

California also gets water from the Sierra Nevada range, where snow is at its lowest level in 65 years of record-keeping. - AP