California snowpack on track to beat record set in 1982-83
Courtesy California Department of Water Resources

California snowpack on track to beat record set in 1982-83

The news coming from the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Friday was welcomed by all as the third manual snow survey recorded 116.5 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 41.5 inches, which is 177 percent of average for the Phillips Station.

Other electronic readings from 130 snow sensors placed throughout the state indicate the statewide snowpack’s snow water equivalent is 44.7 inches, or 190 percent of average according to DWR.

“Thankfully the recent storms combined with the January atmospheric rivers have contributed to an above-average snowpack that will help fill some of the state’s reservoirs and maximize groundwater recharge efforts. But the benefits vary by region, and the Northern Sierra, home to the state’s largest reservoir Lake Shasta, is lagging behind the rest of the Sierra,” DWR Director Karla Nemeth said.

The 2022-23 statewide snowpack is shaping up to be a banner year, coming in just behind the record snow year of 1982-83. Currently, the Southern Sierra snowpack is at 209 percent of its April 1 average, the Central Sierra is at 175 percent of its April 1 average and the Northern Sierra is at 136 percent of its April 1 average.

“The recent storms over the past week broke a month-long dry spell in a dramatic way,” said DWR’s Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit Manager Sean de Guzman. “We are hopeful that we will see more cold storms to add to our snowpack for the next month and help set up a long, slow melt period into spring.”

The next manual snow survey by DWR is tentatively scheduled for April 3.

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