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PHILLIPS STATION, Calif. (AP) — California surveyors say the Sierra Nevada snowpack is close to setting records after five years of punishing drought.

Officials said Wednesday the snowpack's water content measured at 185 percent of normal. A year ago, it was 84 percent of normal.

The snowpack is vital because it provides one-third of the state's water to homes and farms when it melts in the spring and summer.

Frank Gehrke, the state's chief snow surveyor, said the snowpack in some places is nearing levels last seen in 1983.

State climatologist Michael Anderson calls the current levels historic, especially in the central and southern Sierra Nevada, where double the normal amount of snow has fallen.

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