California snowpack gets needed boost from latest storm

It’s exactly what California needed.

A massive prolonged snow event dumped several feet of snow on the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, and now the benefits are tangible.

California’s statewide season-to-date snowpack levels are up to 47 percent of average, based on official figures from the state’s Department of Water Resources on Wednesday. That might not sound like a lot, but it’s a nearly 10 percent boost from just one storm system, an impressive increase over such a short timespan.

That’s mostly as a result of a weekend snowstorm that dumped as much as 52 inches of snow on the Sierra Nevada. The snow forced portions of Interstate 80 around Donner Pass to close for most of Sunday and Monday. While the traffic hiccups were certainly notable, the snowfall was necessary. January and February have featured paltry snowfall totals in this part of the country, and with California’s wet season typically running from October through April or May, time is running out to make up for a lousy winter-to-date.

Even better, the snow may not be done yet. The Climate Prediction Center’s (CPC) 6-10 day outlook product highlights California and much of the southwestern United States in its colder-than-average and wetter-than-average zones, a sign of increasing confidence that an active weather pattern will pump in more needed snowfall through the end of the month.

Computer forecast models are showing heavier snow and a reinforcement of colder temperatures into the Southwest next week.

Snowpack accounts for about 30 percent of California’s water supply, and it also helps with drought conditions. It can also help delay or stave off wildfires during the dry summer and fall seasons.

Stay with WeatherNation for the latest on California’s snowpack, and a potentially more active pattern into next week.

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