The series of storms that flooded parts of Northern California started out warm but became colder and ultimately dumped nearly half as much snow as is normal for this time of year in the mountains near Lake Tahoe.
"Prior to that I suspect a lot of the places where we measured would have been bare."
Frank Gehrke is in charge of snow surveys for the Department of Water Resources. They measured the snowpack at various sites yesterday. "The percents of average ranged from 92% to as high as 141%."
State hydrologists can determine the coming year’s water supply by measuring snow-water content. But Gehrke says it’s still too early to tell from yesterday’s measurements. "As we move through January and we start into the February measurement cycle we’ll have a lot better handle on what kind of year we’re going to have for the rest of the season."
The state gets more than 1/3 of its drinking and irrigation water from Sierra snow.