West Snowpack Continuing to Run Well Above Average
After multiple down years, the West’s snowpack overall is well above average due to multiple, El Nino-enhanced storms that have led to year-to-date snow levels running 200 percent above average in some cases.
Snow-water content across the West is running above average in most spots, according to Water and Climate Center surveys on Saturday. Snow levels in Utah, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington and Oregon are running approximately 110-200 percent above average nearly across the board in all seven states, while Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho snow levels are mostly around average, although some spots in northern Wyoming are below average.
A series of recent storms padded snow levels further. Perhaps most importantly, snow levels in drought stricken California’s Sierra Nevada mountains are close to 110 percent of average state-wide, which should provide the Golden State with critical drinking water when the snow melts in the spring. Melted mountain snowfall provides roughly a third of California’s drinking water.
Ski resorts are reaping the greatest benefits, with resorts from Washington to California to Colorado enjoying above average snow levels and ski conditions nearly across the board.
Meanwhile, the East’s snowpack is far below average due to unseasonably warm temperatures that have led to record warmth through much of the winter, although snow in northern New England’s highest elevations on Saturday provided a badly-needed boost to struggling ski resorts.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi