Lake Tahoe, CA Snowpack Currently at 3rd Lowest in Nearly 40 Years

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Percent of average precip in CA since the end of Sept is WAY below average. image: noaa, dec. 23rd, 2017

California’s Sierra Nevada mountains are off to a rough start this winter.

The Lake Tahoe Basin in experiencing its 3rd driest start since 1980/81.

The Lake Tahoe Basin snowpack is currently at 30% of average.

California’s statewide snowpack is at 27% of average right now.

Last year, California’s statewide snowpack was sitting at 67% of average on today’s date.

“While it’s too early to know for sure if this will be a drought year, we had better start acting as though drought was going to be a normal, not abnormal, part of western water’s future.” – Peter Gleick, co-founder of the Pacific Institute told the Reno Gazette Journal

***

CA’s snowpack at 27% of average. image: nrcs, yesterday

CURRENT CALIFORNIA SNOWPACK NUMBERS:

  • The northern Sierra Nevada snowpack is currently at 24% of average
  • The central Sierra Nevada snowpack is currently at 33% of average
  • The southern Sierra Nevada snowpack is currently 23% of average
  • Below 8,000′ the Sierra Nevada snowpack is 25% of average
  • The Lake Tahoe Basin snowpack is currently at 30% of average
  • The Truckee River Basin snowpack is currently at 59% of average
Truckee River Basin at 67% of average snowpack right now. image: nrcs, yesterday

RECORD LOW SNOWPACKS IN LAKE TAHOE:

  • The Snotel at Ward Creek in Tahoe City, CA is at its lowest ever recorded snow depth on yesterday’s date in 39 years of data.
  • The Snotel at Rubicon (7,600′) on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, CA recorded its 2nd lowest ever snowpack for yesterday’s date.
  • The Snotel at Marlette Lake (7,880′) in Lake Tahoe recorded its 4th lowest ever snowpack for yesterday’s date.
Squaw Valley, CA yesterday. image: points north heli/kevin quinn

CALIFORNIA SKI RESORT DECEMBER SNOWFALL:

  • Mammoth Mountain = 4″
  • Squaw Valley = 10″
Diamond Peak ski resort in Lake Tahoe, NV yesterday. image: points north heli/kevin quinn

CALIFORNIA FORECAST:

.LONG TERM...New Years Day through Friday...

The extended period starts with a ridge in place over the forecast
area producing above average high temperatures. This ridge slides
east on Tuesday as a long wave trough begins to approach the west
coast. 
- NOAA Reno, NV today
Snow forecast by the GEM model for the next 10-days showing a bit of snow in CA. image: tropicaltidbits.com

“We have a really poor snowpack now, but if we get in a storm track that can change rapidly.” – Jeff Anderson, a hydrologist from the Nevada Natural Resources Conservation Service told Reno Gazette Journal

Despite all this, California ski resorts are skiing very well right now up high.

The skiing is still fun in CA and the snow depth right now actually makes the skiing very exciting on extremely feature-full terrain.

We all know that all it would take is one big storm to make the skiing in CA great again.

Heavenly ski resort, CA yesterday. image: points north heli/kevin quinn

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