California Snowpack Nears Record Depths

March 1, 2017 03:46 PM
 
Snow

California surveyors say the Sierra Nevada snowpack is close to setting records after five years of punishing drought.

Officials said Wednesday the snowpack's water content measured at 185 percent of normal. A year ago, it was 84 percent of normal.

The snowpack is vital because it provides one-third of the state's water to homes and farms when it melts in the spring and summer.

Frank Gehrke, the state's chief snow surveyor, said the snowpack in some places is nearing levels last seen in 1983.

State climatologist Michael Anderson calls the current levels historic, especially in the central and southern Sierra Nevada, where double the normal amount of snow has fallen.

Water managers will once again manually measure California's snowpack, saying the state is on track for one of the wettest winters on record after five years of drought.

The California Department of Water Resources will do the survey Wednesday in the Sierra Nevada.

The snowpack is vital because it provides one-third of the state's water to homes and farms when it melts.

On Tuesday, electronic monitors showed the snowpack was at 186 percent of normal for this time of year.

Doug Carlson of the state Department of Water Resources says the winter's historic snow and rainfall has not been seen in California for decades.

It's also good for skiers because resorts are extending their seasons.

Mammoth Mountain's Lauren Burke says slopes there should be open for skiers celebrating Independence Day.

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