California dealers cautiously optimistic amid drought

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Recent rain and snow in California sparked optimism for dealers gearing up this weekend for the Sacramento Boat Show and Off-Road Exhibition.

Two storms eased drought conditions slightly by bringing rain to coastal California and snow to the Sierra Nevada range, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

However, they failed to deliver significant relief because of where most of the precipitation fell, according to NBC Los Angeles, which quoted the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Spring and summer runoff prospects improved "only slightly," according to the weekly report released Thursday. The systems moved too far south to help key watershed areas in the northern and central parts of the state, and the dry land soaked up most of the moisture.

Boaters have been concerned about the summer as some lakes hit historic lows, according to KCRA in Sacramento. Boat dealers said they had to order their summer inventory even as water levels continued to decline.

The recent rain and snow has fueled optimism, as popular spots such as Folsom Lake have doubled in water storage in the last month, according to Department of Water Resources statistics. In February, Folsom Lake rose 6 feet. However, Doug Carlson, of the California Department of Resources, told the Sacramento Bee that “we still have a long way to go before we’re anywhere close to normal.”

Today, the lake is at 36 percent capacity, according to the California Department of Water Resources — an improvement over January but still a fraction of typical levels.

But Craig Larson, of Larson Marine, said he is seeing renewed confidence among buyers who are coming back into the leisure market looking for fun. He hopes that will translate into sales, as hundreds of boats are on display this weekend in Cal Expo's Pavilion for the annual Sacramento show.

Show organizers said they added a temporary tent to accommodate vendor requests for more floor space this year. The show grew 15 percent over last year's event, according to the promoter.

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