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Readings Show California Snowpack of 10.5 Inches, 72 Percent of Previous Years' Averages

Readings Show California Snowpack of 10.5 Inches, 72 Percent of Previous Years' Averages

SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced the results of electronic readings of the Sierra Nevada Snowpack. Statewide water content held at 10.5 inches, 72 percent of the December 27 average from previous years.

Michael Anderson, State Climatologist, California Department of Water Resources“October was one of our wettest on record, and December has produced a nice rebound from November’s below-average precipitation,” Michael Anderson, State Climatologist, in a DWR release. “California needs sustained above-average precipitation and a decent snowpack to overcome the previous years of drought.”

The 2017 water year began with robust rainfall in October, in the Sierra Nevada regions that the DWR continually monitors. Northern California had a particularly wet October, the wettest in thirty years, sparking optimism among those hoping for more rainfall. Less than optimal rainfall in November, though, somewhat curbed those hopes.

As of December 1, the snowpack’s water content was only 61 percent of average. Last weekend’s cold storm helped bolster snowfall, and snowpack on Christmas Day was up to 75 percent of average.

The DWR noted that it’s too soon to determine whether this winter’s wet season will drop enough snow and rain to end California’s five-year drought. Snowpack is at its deepest and most water-laden at the beginning of April; the DWR and other weather watchers won’t be able to tell, with certainty, how helpful the season’s downfall has been in combating drought until then.

Manual readings intended to supplement the department’s electronic data will be taken on snow courses during the next several weeks.

Will wet winter months deliver us from California’s protracted drought? Check back in with AndNowUKnow for updates as they happen.