Sierra Snowpack Swells to 104% of Average as Storms Hit California

These images show California on Nov. 20, 2018, left, and on Dec. 2, 2018, right. (Credit: NASA)

These images show California on Nov. 20, 2018, left, and on Dec. 2, 2018, right. (Credit: NASA)

Winter is still a couple of weeks away, but the Sierra snowpack is already at 104 percent of the statewide normal after California was inundated by a barrage of storms recently, the latest data showed.

Recent snow in the Sierra Nevada brought a much-needed boost to the mountain snowpack, a critical source of fresh water that provides roughly 30 percent of California’s annual supply, according to NASA.

As of Thursday, the snowpack was at 104 percent — more than double what it was a year ago when it hit 47 percent of the average.

And it also represents a major turnaround from just three weeks ago, when NASA said California’s snow water equivalent — the measurement of water if the entire snowpack were to melt at one time — was below normal.

Since then, the Sierra Nevada experienced its first significant snowfall of the season as November drew to a close. The most snow thus far in the state has been in the Southern Sierra, which measured 125 percent above average as of Thursday.

Mammoth Mountain currently has the most snow in the country, with a 70-inch base and nearly 9-feet of snow at the top, according to a post on the resort’s Facebook page.

Yosemite National Park, meanwhile, had received up to 27 inches of snow as of last Friday, while several ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area reported over a foot of snowfall on Sunday, NASA said.


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