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Calif. snowpack improved, but still light

Manual survey finds 58% of average for the location, time of year.

Farm Press Staff

January 31, 2024

1 Min Read
Snow on hillside
A light snowpack blankets a hillside in California's Sierra Nevada near Lake Tahoe.Calif. Dept. of Water Resources

California's second manual snow survey of the year on Jan. 30 found 58% of average for this time of year at the reading location near Lake Tahoe, reflecting a modest increase in the snowpack since Jan. 1.

Electronic readings from 130 gauges around the state found a snow-water equivalent of 8.4 inches, or 52% of average for the date, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

"This year's El Nino has delivered below-average precipitation and an even smaller snowpack," DWR Director Karla Nemeth said. "Californians must prepare for all possible conditions during the remaining months of the rainy season."

Overall precipitation in California has been 82% of normal, according to DWR. While statewide reservoir storage is still above average thanks to the deluges of 2022-23, Lake Oroville -- the State Water Project's main reservoir -- is at only 76% of average.

The federal Climate Prediction Center foresees the greatest chance of above-average precipitation in the southern half of the state in the next month, with northern areas being average to dry.

Source: California Department of Water Resources, National Weather Service

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