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California's Snowpack Reaches Nearly Double Average Levels

California's Snowpack Reaches Nearly Double Average Levels

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – California is coming off of its headline-making drought in style, as assessment of the state’s snowpack continues to report nearly double its normal levels. The state received its final assessment of the season, just in time for the warmer weather that’s beginning to roll through the state. 

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) performed its final snowpack survey on the first day of May, according to news source KCRA. Its results revealed that the snowpack still contains more water than it has for several years, as we’ve reported previously. Officials also stated that the snow is beginning to melt, marking an increase in flood risk for areas downstream of the snowpack and its reservoirs. 

Frank Gehrke, Chief, California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program“The thing we’re looking out for is primarily the southern Sierra, where we have full reservoirs and in some cases a huge snowpack,” said Chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program Frank Gehrke, according to the Folsom Telegraph. “We want to make sure that we prudently manage that so we don’t cause any downstream issues.” 

The California Department of Water Resources performing its final snowpack survey at the Phillips Station.

DWR stated on its website that the snowpack surveyed at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada found a Snow Water Equivalent of 27.8 inches, which is 190 percent of the May 1 long-term average of 14.6 inches.

Bill Croyle, Director, California Department of Water Resources "California’s cities and farms can expect good water supplies this summer,” said DWR Acting Director Bill Croyle. “But this ample snowpack should not wash away memories of the intense drought of 2012-2016. California’s precipitation is the most variable in the nation, and we cannot afford to stop conserving water.” 

DWR stated that any melting snow from the snowpack will supply approximately one-third of the water used by the state. Some analysts are concerned that too warm of weather moving forward may make for larger than normal flows as the snowpack melts, according to Yale Climate Connections, though no problem areas have yet been released.

Could California see an influx of flood this spring, and will reservoirs overfill with the melting snow? AndNowUKnow will report as the news unfolds.