California is in the midst of a historic ski season, and it could be the deepest snowpack ever for the Sierras.
KTVU reports that California has tied its 1952 snowpack record. Some measurement sites are not within reach at the moment, so it’s possible that they will end up breaking the record. These measurements could take a couple of weeks to gather. The current snowpack measurements for the Northern Sierras are at 196%, Central Sierras at 238%, and Southern Sierras is 296% above average.
Michael Anderson, who is a California State Climatologist described how the state’s fortunes have changed in recent months:
“So Christmas 2022, just to remind you heading into year four of a drought, and we are just about done with the first quarter of the water year, and things were looking pretty grim. But boy have things changed in the second quarter. And you can see that footprint, a lot of those storms just running the track between San Francisco Bay and San Diego.”
With warmer weather on the horizon, the concern turns to widespread flooding. Significant flooding is expected in the Central Valley, which could severely affect the agricultural industry. When the snow melts will depend on when the sunlight directly hits the snow, rather than the temperature.
All the new water has made Tulare Lake, which was once the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River, reemerge. This comeback has damaged hundreds of structures and put local residents on edge due to the melting snowpack that will descend on them in the coming months. According to NBC News, the area around the lake produces a large number of our country’s almonds, pistachios, milk, and fruit.
The other issue that California faces is preparing for the next drought. Some of the snowpack will end up in percolation ponds. Underneath these ponds are aquifers, which help store the water for when they’re needed.
A video analysis of California’s snowpack from KTVU is below.
Image/Video Credits: Will Reynolds, California Department of Water Resources, KTVU FOX 2 San Francisco