Heavy snow in the mountains should help ease some of the state’s drought worries this summer, but it also raises the possibility of spring flooding.
Snow piled up by the foot over the weekend on California peaks and mountain passes, closing roadways for avalanche control work, backing up traffic and forcing at least one ski resort, Sierra at Tahoe, to cancel its Monday operations despite “legendary” riding conditions.
California’s snowpack is on pace for a remarkable season after nearly three weeks of atmospheric river storms pummeled California with heavy precipitation. Every region of the Sierra Nevada has more than 200% of its typical snowpack for this time of year.
“Epic levels,” State Climatologist Michael Anderson said in a news briefing Monday. “We’re on pace ahead of the record pack ’82 and ’83.”
That means the state’s snowpack, which typically accounts for about 30% of its water supply, is the highest it has been on this date since record-keeping began in 1950.
California’s hearty snowpack should help ease some of the state’s drought worries this summer, but it also raises the possibility of spring flooding as all that stored moisture melts out.
“It does set the stage for potentially dealing with flood issues as we move through the snowmelt season, something to keep in the back of your head,” Anderson said. The likelihood of spring floods will depend on how much more snow accumulates later this winter. ..