California Sees Biggest June Snowpack in Nearly a Decade Thanks to Spring Storms

A snow plow clears a road near Highway 395 near Mammoth Lakes, Calif., after heavy snow blanketed the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains during a February storm. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A snow plow clears a road near Highway 395 near Mammoth Lakes, Calif., after heavy snow blanketed the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains during a February storm. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

During a weekend that’s widely known as the unofficial start of summer in California, visitors who trekked to Lake Tahoe for Memorial Day were met with a flurry of snowflakes that turned the landscape into a winter wonderland in May.

The storm responsible for the late-season snow in the Sierra Nevada town was one in a series of chilly spring systems that kept temperatures low following a marathon wet winter that filled reservoirs and streams and brought once-dry waterfalls back to life in the region.

Most importantly, the storms have maintained the snowpack — a key source of the state’s water supply — at its highest level for early June since 2011.

As of Monday, the snow blanketing the vast mountain range was 201% of average for the day — even larger than the snowpack on the same day in 2017, a banner year for precipitation that pulled large swaths of Northern California out of persistent drought conditions.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.