Snowfall still below normal in the Sierra Nevada |

Snowfall still below normal in the Sierra Nevada

Tribune staff report

Snowfall in the mountains of California will once again be monitored closely this season as the state continues to experience one of the worst droughts on record.

So far this water year, rainfall in Northern California has been above normal due to several recent storms, according to the Department of Water Resources. But the precipitation hasn’t resulted in greater-than-normal snowfall in the Sierra Nevada.

A manual snowpack survey will be conducted near Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort on Dec. 30 for additional measurements. But for now, electronic readings show the snowpack’s water content at about half of the average statewide — specifically, at 54 percent for Dec. 23.

In general, the snowpack supplies about a third of the water needed in the state.

After California received less than average snowfall and precipitation the past few years, DWR reports that surface and groundwater reservoirs have depleted.

It appears those surface reservoirs “are unlikely to be recharged to normal levels unless precipitation and snowpack this water year are well above historical averages,” according to an agency press release.

Large amounts of snowfall would be an important factor to possibly ending the drought, but the state just came out of its third driest water year — which ended Sept. 30 — in more than a century of recordkeeping.

This year was also California’s warmest on record.

For more information on the local snowpack, check back to the Tahoe Daily Tribune soon for results from the Dec. 30 snow survey.

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