February 2, 2023
Despite a lull since a series of "atmospheric river" storms pelted the state earlier this winter, California water officials' second manual survey of the season Feb. 1 found nearly twice the average snowpack for this time of year.
The measurement at Phillips Station, near Lake Tahoe, recorded 85.5 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 33.5 inches, which is 193% of average for the beginning of February, the state Department of Water Resources reported.
The snow water equivalent measures the amount of water contained in the snowpack and is a key component of DWR’s water supply forecast. Statewide, the snowpack is 205% of average for this date. Two months remain until April 1, when the state snowpack usually peaks.
The snowpack received a significant boost from one of the wettest three-week periods on record in California, following the driest three-year period on record. California also experienced above average precipitation in December just months after one of the hottest heatwaves in state history in September.
“California has always experienced some degree of swings between wet and dry, but the past few months have demonstrated how much more extreme those swings are becoming,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth.
The Golden State's results for the water year that started Oct. 1 are currently outpacing the record 1982-83 season. The federal Climate Prediction Center foresees equal chances of above- or below-normal precipitation for the state in the remainder of the winter.
Source: California Department of Water Resources
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