April 19, 2024
State officers conduct the snow survey at Phillips Station on Tuesday. Andrew Nixon / California Division of Water Assets

In a worrisome turnaround from final yr, the primary official snow survey of the season at Phillips Station within the Sierra Nevada discovered California’s very important snowpack to be far beneath regular.

The handbook survey by the Division of Water Assets recorded 7.5 inches of snow depth and a snow water equal of three inches, which is 30% of common for this location. Statewide the snowpack is at 25%.

The disappointing measurement comes after California noticed one of many largest snowpacks on document final yr.

Whereas the state’s reservoirs are above common for this time of yr and powerful El Niño situations are current within the Pacific Ocean, the outlook for the remainder of the winter stays extremely unsure, based on the company.

“The dry fall and beneath common situations at this time exhibits how briskly water situations can change,” stated Sean de Guzman, supervisor of the company’s Snow Surveys and Water Provide Forecasting Unit.

“It’s nonetheless far too early to say what sort of water yr we can have, and it will likely be necessary for Californians to concentrate to their forecasts and preserve water, rain or shine,” he stated.

Final yr, California skilled local weather whiplash when the driest three year-period on document ended with excessive storms in January and March that precipitated injury and flooding throughout the state.

On common, the Sierra snowpack provides about 30 p.c of California’s water wants. Its pure potential to retailer water is why the snowpack is also known as California’s “frozen reservoir.”