Earlier Snowpack Melt in the West Could Bring Summer Water Scarcity

Snow is melting earlier, and more rain is falling instead of snow in the mountain ranges of the Western U.S. and Canada, leading to a leaner snowpack that could impact agriculture, wildfire risk and municipal water supplies come summer, according to a new study from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Massive Snowpack’s Summer Bonus: Clean, Cheap Electricity for California

The huge snowpack that has blanketed the Sierra Nevada this winter has done more than end California’s drought and extended ski season. It’s also changing how Californians keep the lights on.

LADWP Prepares for Flooding in the Eastern Sierra

Following an epic winter that has grown the California snowpack to historic levels, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is preparing for an equally epic runoff season. With the Eastern Sierra snowpack at 296% of normal, the municipally owned water agency for the City of Los Angeles is anticipating runoff to be 225% of normal and is implementing safety measures.

California Snowpack Data Debunked: 2023 Was No Record Year. And Neither Was 1952

It was the snowpack reading that spawned a hundred headlines. “California ties 1952 record for all-time Sierra snowpack,” proclaimed KTVU. “California’s snowpack soars to record high after 17 atmospheric rivers,” trumpeted the Washington Post.

State officials largely seemed to agree.

Outflows Continue From Lake Oroville

Since the beginning of December, Lake Oroville’s elevation has shot up by around 200 feet thanks to a constant stream of winter storms.

The lake reached a level that has prompted the California Department of Water Resources to let water out over the course of the past month in what the department claims is an effort to control flooding downstream.

California Surpasses All-Time Snowpack Record

Weeks of off-and-on storms across California may have been a source of frustration for many of the state’s residents, but it’s been good news for the state’s snowpack.

Precipitation has been so dramatic and persistent in recent months that this year’s historic snowpack totals are now believed to be the largest on record.

California May Break the Record for the Amount of Water in Its Snowpack

Since the beginning of 2023, California has seen a record-setting amount of snow across the state, especially in the Sierra Nevada, setting up the state to close in on the records for the highest snow water equivalent, which was reached just over a decade ago.

Snow water equivalent is the amount of water that would result from melting the snowpack, according to the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab.

How California Atmospheric River Will Impact Snowpack in Sierras

An atmospheric river is set to descend on California in coming days, following a spate of wet weather across the state.

An atmospheric river is a corridor of concentrated, tropical moisture traveling through the atmosphere. The river has raised an alert for significant flooding throughout California, and experts have warned of severe disruption.

Will California’s Excess Snow Become Usable Water This Year?

After three of the driest years in California history, this winter’s storms brought some of the wettest and snowiest weeks on record to parts of the state. Snowpack accumulated during winter is vital to the state’s water system because the natural form of water storage melts during the spring and fills reservoirs that can then distribute water downstream where needed.

December’s Winter Storms Were a Boon for California’s Snowpack Levels — but Trends Could Radically Change

December’s parade of winter storms left a mark on California’s snowpack, with some substantial gains in the Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascades’ snowfall totals tallied in past days. The state has already seen an active wet season that began in September, but even with recent deluges, data shows that much more precipitation is needed to actually get out of multiyear drought.