The Sierra snowpack has jumped to 130 percent of average, the California Department of Water Resources announced after it took measurements Tuesday.
Seventy-six inches of snow was measured near Lake Tahoe at Echo Summit.
"It's certainly a very encouraging start to winter," said Frank Gerhke of the California Department of Water Resources. "The thing we're really looking for is where are we going to end be end of April."
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Gerhke has been taking snow measurements for years. He said the recent snowpack is good news, but no means signals an end to California's severe drought.
"It's way too premature for that," Gerhke said. "The snowpack is just one of the features we look at."
Gov. Jerry Brown is echoing water officials' continuing call to conserve.
State officials on Tuesday revealed that Californians are falling short of the 25 percent conservation mandate and used only 18 percent less water in December.
Gerhke agreed people need to continue conserving and said it was only back in April when he was measuring dust.
"It was pretty grim and it only got worse," he said.
Groundwater levels and reservoir recovery are also critical, officials said.