Officers report ‘important’ snowpack in California, however drought optimism


DWR staff measure snow depth
Division of Water Sources officers conduct the primary snow survey of the 2023 season west of Lake Tahoe at Phillips Station within the Sierra Nevada. Picture courtesy of DWR

It California Division of Water SourcesThe primary snow survey of the season on Tuesday discovered “important Sierra snowfall,” however officers warned that dry months might comply with.

A standard handbook survey on the iconic Phillips Station west of Lake Tahoe recorded 55.5 inches of snow and 17.5 inches of water equal, 177% of common for the placement.

Nationally, snowpack is 174% of common for this date due to a collection of latest storms.

DWR Director Karla Nemeth mentioned the “important snow within the Sierra is sweet information” regardless of the flooding brought on by the rains.

However officers warned that circumstances to date this season are much like final yr, when California noticed a number of early storms and heavy December snow, with solely the driest January to March on document.

“Nice snow numbers are all the time welcome, however we nonetheless have a protracted solution to go earlier than the essential April 1 complete,” mentioned DWR’s Sean de Guzman.

“If January to March 2023 is something like final yr, we’ll nonetheless finish the water yr in a extreme drought with solely half the typical annual snowpack,” he mentioned.

A yr in the past, the Phillips survey confirmed the seventh-highest January readings on document. Nonetheless, these outcomes had been adopted by three months of extraordinarily dry circumstances, and the Phillips survey studying on April 1 final yr was the third lowest on document.

Sierra snowpack provides about 30% of California’s water wants and is a crucial think about figuring out how DWR manages the state’s water sources.


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