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OPINION: Preparing for California’s Unpredictable Water Future

If we had a crystal ball that showed our water future, it would be cloudy at best. In fact, downright unpredictable. Californians were lulled into a sense of relief as last year’s massive rainfall literally soaked our region. Flooded streets, sinkholes and monster storms dominated news coverage.

The Science of Warmer Winters: Sierra Temps Rising Faster, Greater Impact on Snowpack

Trends of warmer winter temperature in the Sierra Nevada are predicted to reduce local snowpack — western Nevada County’s most important source of water. In the future, precipitation increasingly will fall as rain instead of snow, scientists forecast. The impact of that shift on local water supply is dramatic. Nevada Irrigation District’s system for collecting water for local use — like other systems along the Sierra Nevada — was built on the assumption that wintertime precipitation would come as snow and stay in the mountains until the spring melt.

Storm Brings Needed Snow to Sierra Nevadas

A winter storm swept into Northern California on Friday and dumped nearly a foot of much-needed snow in higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada. More snow was expected in the region before the system moved out. Moderate to occasionally heavy snow was forecast through afternoon, when the storm was expected to shift course to the central portion of the state, said National Weather Service forecaster Craig Shoemaker.

Nevada Researchers Warn of More ‘Snow Droughts,’ Even in Wet Years

There’s a term for what’s going on right now in the Sierra Nevada and the mountains that feed the Colorado River. It’s called a “snow drought,” and Nevada climate scientists warn that Westerners had better get used to the phenomenon. of below-average snowpack have become increasingly common in some Western mountain ranges, and more frequent snow droughts are likely as global temperatures continue to rise, according to Benjamin Hatchett, a postdoctoral fellow in meteorology and climatology at the Desert Research Institute in Reno.