California Snowpack Has Reached 173% of Average, State Officials Say

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These maps show how much water was stored in the Sierra snowpack on Jan. 6 (left) and Jan. 24 (center), 2017. (NASA)

These maps show how much water was stored in the Sierra snowpack on Jan. 6 (left) and Jan. 24 (center), 2017. (NASA)

Snowfall from a series of blizzard-like storms that blanketed the Sierra Nevada last month deposited the equivalent of more than 5.7 trillion gallons of water along the rugged mountain range — enough water to fill California’s largest reservoir more than four times, according to recent analysis.

In a study by the University of Colorado Boulder and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in La Cañada Flintridge, scientists concluded this month that recent snowfall had replenished more than a third of the state’s lingering “snow-water deficit.”

The finding comes as the California Department of Water Resources released its latest snow survey results on Thursday. Thanks largely to a series of atmospheric rivers that ferried large amounts of tropical moisture to the parched West Coast, Sierra Nevada snowpack has now reached 173% of average.

Snow accumulation this year stands in sharp contrast to that of the previous five years — a period when much of the state was struggling through drought.

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