Wednesday December 7, 2022

Washington Post

Winter is off to a running start in California, after a pair of December storms dropped several feet of mountain snow and soaking low-elevation rains across much of the state. Parts of the Sierra Nevada have recorded more than double the expected snowpack for the time of year, and another significant storm could be on the way this weekend.

However, officials are urging caution and conservation given the depth of the state’s water supply challenges. Longer range outlooks still point to a fourth consecutive drought year for the state.

Statewide snow water equivalent — or the amount of water contained in snowpack — is currently 175 percent of normal for the date. The Central Sierra Snow Lab, located at Donner Pass northwest of Lake Tahoe, is now sitting at 253 percent of its average.

Andrew Schwartz, lead research scientist at the lab, said that while these numbers are very good news, averages can be deceptive this early in the season.

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