Drought-stricken California will see spring rain and snow – NBC Los Angeles
More snow and spring rain are expected Monday for parts of California after a dry winter.
That’s good news for a drought-stricken state that just experienced one of its driest wet seasons on record in a third straight dry year.
Four weeks into spring, winter weather advisories will be in effect Tuesday above 6,500 feet on the western slope of the northern Sierra Nevada and in the greater Lake Tahoe area. Showers are expected in parts of the Central Valley.
Travelers have been advised to expect snow and difficult conditions, including reduced visibility.
Total snow accumulations on the West Slope will range from 4 inches to 7 inches with localized amounts of up to 10 inches.
In the Lake Tahoe area, ridge winds will blow up to 100 mph.
The greatest impacts will be felt on the higher passes such as Donner Summit, Echo Summit and Mount Rose Summit. Up to 3 inches of snow accumulation was expected on the shores of the lake.
Last week’s snow total exceeded 3 feet in some mountainous areas on Saturday, UC Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Lab reported.
Across the country, people depend on these piles of snow for their water supply. What is a snowpack and what other impact does it have on you?
In Southern California, Monday will be dry with temperatures in the 70s and 80s before a cooling. Clouds increase later this week and there is a chance of rain late Thursday through Friday.
Spring storms follow consecutive dry months during what is historically the wettest time of year. The final study of California’s snowpack, a vital water source for the nation’s most populous state, recorded 2.5 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 1 inch, or 4% of the April 1 average for the location.
Statewide snowfall is 38% of average. It is the lowest score since the end of the last drought in 2015 and only the third time since 1988 that it has been this low.
Without a series of spell-checking dry storms to dump snow on the mountains, California looks set to enter a hot, dry summer under significant drought conditions.
The statewide snowpack peak occurred around March 8 at about 57% of average. The beginning of April is usually when the snow cover is at its peak.
More than 46% of California is under extreme drought, the second most severe category in the weekly US Drought Monitor report. This includes much of the state, from the Oregon border to the agricultural Central Valley.
Three months ago, only 1% of California experienced extreme drought.
About 96% of California is experiencing severe drought. This figure was 66% three months ago.
The Sierra snowpack accounts for approximately 30% of California’s water supply. Understanding how much there is to work with is essential for water resource managers to plan for what is available during the hot, dry summer months. In addition to monthly rainy season readings at Phillips Station, where water resources officials drive a pole into the ground to measure the snow-water equivalent, officials rely on data provided by a network of sensors to determine snow accumulation.
The snow-water equivalent measures the amount of water contained in the snowpack.
The continuing drought has prompted state officials to call on cities and other local water providers to step up their conservation plans. Local governments can take action by further restricting when people can water their lawns and wash their cars, limiting the use of water for decorative or ornamental purposes, and stepping up enforcement against people who run sprinklers on sidewalks or engage in other wasteful behavior.