Before this weekend’s storms the Sierra snowpack was at 10% of normal. After the strong series of storms, the Sierra snowpack is around 25-30% of normal to date. That is a very concerning number this late in the season. Experts are now saying that the Sierra Nevada is experiencing a drought. Despite Big Weekend Storms, Sierra Snowpack at 25% of Normal | Severe Drought in The Sierra Nevada | Unofficial Networks

Despite Big Weekend Storms, Sierra Snowpack at 25% of Normal | Severe Drought in The Sierra Nevada

Despite Big Weekend Storms, Sierra Snowpack at 25% of Normal | Severe Drought in The Sierra Nevada

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Despite Big Weekend Storms, Sierra Snowpack at 25% of Normal | Severe Drought in The Sierra Nevada

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Drought hurts. photo: chinasmack.com

Before this weekend’s storms the Sierra snowpack was at 10% of normal.  After that strong series of storms, the Sierra snowpack is around 25-30% of normal to date.  That is a very concerning number this late in the season.  Experts are now saying that the Sierra Nevada is experiencing a drought.

“Before the series of storms in the past week, all of the basins were below 10% of the season-to-date normals. As of early this morning, the snowpack has increased to around 25-30% of normal, which includes partial totals from the Sunday night-Monday storm.” – noaa.gov (monday)

Squaw Valley ski resort has only gotten 86 inches of snow all season (compared to 293” at this time last year) at 8,200 feet and weather professionals are now using the words Severe Drought and Sierra Nevada together.

“A surprising lack of early winter precipitation (not expected during a La Niña) in the Northwest resulted in the introduction of severe drought (D2) to the Sierra Nevadas” – noaa.gov

noaa.gov

The Sierra Nevada snowpack is key to California’s survival.  The Sierra Nevada is our reservoir.  Mountain snows accumulate all winter then slowly run off in the spring, summer, and fall filling rivers, streams, reservoirs, lakes, canals, and water cups.  When the Sierras don’t have snow, we don’t have water.

USA Seasonal Drought Outlook. Tahoe is in the ’drought ongoing, some improvement' zone

The forecast is the really bad news:

“Dry conditions are expected to return for the remainder of the month, so these snowpack values will level off, then slowly decrease.” – noaa.gov

Current 7 day forecasts show high pressure, sunny skies, and high temps in the high 40s and 50s.

Noaa.gov 7 day forecast for Squaw Valley

It’s bad enough that the skiing and snowboarding hasn’t been good due to the snow.  But now, Californians are looking at their lack of snowpack in a whole other light:  drought or even severe drought.

It’s kinda scary to think that only last March did California Governor Jerry Brown declare that California was out of its previous “drought emergency” declared by the Governator that lasted from 2008-2011.

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