First Snow Survey of the 2020-21 Season Coming December 30

California’s first snow survey of the 2020-21 season is happening Dec. 30 at the Phillips snow course in the Sierra Nevada.

The Department of Water Resources will conduct five of these surveys through May by plunging a long steel tube into the snow. This will measure the snow’s depth and give an estimate of its water content.

California’s Snowpack Shrivels, Raising Fears of Future Wildfires

What a difference a year makes.

As the comparison of satellite images above shows, last year at this time California’s Sierra Nevada range was buried in snow. And even as recently as January of this year, snowpack was looking pretty good.

But since then, the jet stream has ferried storms north of California, causing the snowpack to shrivel — from about 150 percent of average last February down to just a little more than 50 percent now.