Northern California Snowpack Bolstered by Early-Spring Snowstorms

Northern California snow, including in Lassen Volcanic National Park, has pushed the state’s snowpack past 100 percent of average. Photo by National Park Service.

Northern California endured three consecutive storms this week, signaling a positive turn for the state’s snowpack as we enter the vital spring season and the beginning of a brand-new water year in April.

The state’s snowpack has seen a remarkable improvement since early January. Initially lagging behind expectations, recent atmospheric rivers have brought substantial rainfall and snowfall to California. As a result, the snowpack now hovers near 100 percent of its average, with Northern California bolstering the numbers with 117 percent of its average.

Atmospheric rivers, defined as long, narrow regions in the atmosphere that transport most of the water vapor outside of the tropics, have played a pivotal role in replenishing California’s snowpack, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The California Department of Water Resources reports a notable 5 percent increase in snowpack for the northern Sierra Nevada mountains over the week, bringing levels to 115 percent of normal. Meanwhile, the central Sierra Nevada mountains boast a snowpack at 101 percent of normal, with the southern mountains close behind at 92 percent. Statewide, the snowpack stands at 104 percent of normal.

The bolstered snowpack is a promising development for the state, mitigating concerns over potential water shortages when warmer, drier weather arrives. With approximately a third of the state’s water supply relying on snowmelt, the improved snowpack offers a crucial buffer.

Additionally, many of the state’s reservoirs have seen significant improvements compared to 2022 water levels, with further increases expected as snow begins to melt in the spring. It’s going to be a great summer season, with full lakes, in NorCal this year!

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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