Second above-average snow season cause for celebration
Angelique Fabbiani-Leon, left, State Hydrometeorologist, and Andy Reising, Water Resources Engineer, both with the California Department of Water Resources Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit at Phillips Station. Fred Greaves / California Department of Water Resources

Second above-average snow season cause for celebration

The mood at the April snow survey was buoyant. Even Governor Gavin Newsom joined in tossing a snowball at the news that California has an above average snowpack for the second season in a row.

The manual survey conducted by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) yesterday at Phillips Station recorded 64 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 27.5 inches which is 113 percent of average for this location.

DWR’s electronic readings from 130 stations placed throughout the state indicate that the statewide snowpack’s snow water equivalent is 28.6 inches, or 110 percent of the April 1 average, a significant improvement from just 28 percent of average on January 1.

The all-important April measurement is key, because it’s considered the peak snowpack for the season and marks the transition to spring snowmelt into the state’s rivers and reservoirs. DWR’s focus now shifts to forecasting spring snowmelt runoff and capturing as much of that water as possible for future use.

“It’s great news that the snowpack was able to catch up in March from a dry start this year. This water year shows once again how our climate is shifting, and how we can swing from dry to wet conditions within a season,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “These swings make it crucial to maintain conservation while managing the runoff. Variable climate conditions could result in less water runoff into our reservoirs. 100 percent snowpack does not mean 100 percent runoff. Capturing and storing what we can in wetter years for drier times remains a key priority.”

California’s reservoirs remain in good shape. Lake Oroville has increased storage by 700,000 acre-feet and San Luis Reservoir by 154,000 acre-feet since January 1. Statewide, reservoir levels currently stand at 116 percent of average.

Check Also

Legislators push for repairs to Central Valley levees ahead of winter rains

Feds increase water allocations from Central Valley Project

Several mid to late February storms improved hydrological conditions particularly for Northern California, causing the …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *