The California DWR recently measured the snowpack and revealed stunning results, the current snowpack is 173% of average for this time of year. Some areas in the Central and Southern Sierra have snowpacks that are above average for April, which is when California typically sees it’s highest amount of snow. Towards the end of the winter season, California officials are expected to meet to discuss whether they should lift the emergency declaration addressing the devastating five-year drought.
Runoff from the overall Sierra snowpack, which provides arid California with a third of its water in a good year, stood at the highest level since 1995 for this point in the year,” stated California’s Department of Water Resources.
The snowpack was measured in a meadow, where at this time during the worst of the drought, had no snow on it. At Phillips Station, DWR measurements showed snow at a level that would have melted down to 28.1 inches of water. That compares to 11.3 inches in an average year. Snowpack throughout the state is measured by more than 100 electronic sensors and as a whole, they revealed the snowpack to be 173% of average.
“Back-to-back-to-back storms in January that each dropped a hurricane’s worth of water have put the state at 108 percent of its normal rain and snow for the whole year. That’s with two months still left in the rainy season,” stated Michael Dettinger, a hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey.
January’s atmospheric river events have lifted the northern half of the state out of drought. On Thursday, 51 percent of the state remained in drought, compared to 95 percent at this time last year. State water officials lifted the statewide mandate for a 25 percent reduction in water use as the drought has eased. As we move farther into 2017, we are hoping for the wet weather to continue in California. It looks like that weather pattern will continue throughout the weekend as three storms are expected to drop massive precipitation on the state.