Sierra Nevada Snowpack Measures 202% of Average for This Time of Year

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Water resource engineers Ashok Bathulla, left, and John King conduct the final state snowpack survey of 2019 at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on May 2, 2019, in a photo released by the California Department of Water Resources.

Water resource engineers Ashok Bathulla, left, and John King conduct the final state snowpack survey of 2019 at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on May 2, 2019, in a photo released by the California Department of Water Resources.

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The amount of snow blanketing the Sierra Nevada is even larger than the 2017 snowpack that pulled the state out of a five-year drought, California water officials said.

As of Thursday, the snowpack measured 202% of average after a barrage of storms throughout winter and spring, according to the Department of Water Resources.

The wet weather has slowed but not stopped, with predictions of thunderstorms this weekend in the central and southern parts of the state.

At this time last year, the snowpack measured 6% of average — making this year 33 times bigger than 2018, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

In 2017, the snowpack measured 190% of average.

The snowpack supplies about 30 percent of state water needs.

In the Tahoe Basin, Squaw Valley ski resort has seen so much snow it plans to keep its slopes open until least July 5. In May alone, Squaw recorded 37 inches (94 centimeters).

State officials consider the most important snowpack measurement to be the one taken around April 1 because that’s typically when storm activity subsides.

“And then after that the sun’s highest position in the sky contributes to rapid melting. This year, that didn’t happen and we had late season snow,” National Weather Service forecaster Idamis Del Valle told the newspaper.

This year’s April 1 reading put the snowpack at 176% of average, making it the fifth-largest on that date, with records going back to 1950, the Chronicle said.

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