Historically High Snowpack Levels in Sierra Nevada Help Power California Out of Drought

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A January 2017 storm dropped large amounts of snow along Ski Run Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

New measurements taken Wednesday show that California’s incredibly wet winter has resulted in historically high snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada, underscoring the state’s rapid march out of drought conditions.

The Sierra Nevada mountains provide about a third of California’s water when the snow melts in the spring and summer. The average snowpack across the entire range was at 185% of normal conditions Wednesday, the Department of Water Resources said.

By region, the Northern Sierra Nevada snowpack was at 159%, the Central was at 191% and the Southern was at a whopping 201% of average for this date, data showed.

This winter has been California’s wettest in at least 20 years, and in some parts of the state, it may be the rainiest in history, according to state data.

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