Mother Nature continues to deliver.
With more than two months left in the season, snowfall in the Central Sierra mountains of California has already reached 100% of the average for an entire year, climatologists from UC Berkeley announced Monday.
“A fresh 3″ (7.5 cm) of new #snow over the last 24 hours takes our season total to 360″ (914 cm, 30 feet)!,” the Central Sierra Snow Laboratory tweeted, along with a chart showing snow accumulation so far this season.
April 1 is when snowpack is typically at its highest, so measurements are compared to the April 1 average in addition to averages for individual dates.
Despite the weather pattern turning noticeably drier since the monster storms that ushered in the new year, snowpack remains strong across the state.
The California Department of Water Resources says statewide snow water equivalent is 210% of normal for Jan. 30 and 129% of the April 1 average.
“The snowpack is in great condition statewide at this point when compared to recent years. Everywhere is above average but a lot of the snowfall has come in the southern Sierra Nevada where it has been lacking for the last several years,” said Andrew Schwartz, Ph.D., the lead scientist and manager at the Central Sierra Snow Laboratory.
The Southern Sierra is an impressive 255% of average, the Central Sierra is 211% and the Northern Sierra/Trinity region is 172%.
While no expert is predicting this wet winter will wipe out California’s drought, it has made a significant impact.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows a large stretch of California’s Central Coast has moved from “moderate” or “severe” drought conditions to “abnormally dry.”
“We’re fortunate to have had a wealth of moisture this season but it’s far from a drought-busting year at this point,” Schwartz said. “It will definitely help with our short term drought conditions but we need more snow and rain to help with the years of below average precipitation that we’ve had. So, we need that storm window to stay open.”