California’s Sierra Nevada Snowpack Highest Since 1995

Sierra snow (Mario Tama / Getty)
Mario Tama / Getty

The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California is at the highest level since 1995, thanks to a series of “atmospheric river” storms at the new year, and another this week, holding hopes for ending the drought.

As Breitbart News has noted, California’s mountainous region has been the great beneficiary of the storms that caused floods in the Central Valley and coastal cities, while dumping huge amounts of snow at high elevations.

The storms come after three years of extreme drought, which meteorologists said would last through a third winter, thanks to a pronounced La Niña effect, which typically brings dry weather to the California coast.

But one storm in the fall was followed in December by a barrage of storms that left California’s ski resorts with the deepest snow in the nation in some places. And now the snowpack is the highest it has been in 30 years.

The San Jose Mercury News reports:

Not since Toy Story packed movie theaters, Steve Young led the 49ers to their fifth Super Bowl win, and gasoline cost $1.28 a gallon has there been so much snow in California’s most famous mountain range at the end of January.

The snowpack was 208% of its historical average for this time of year on Tuesday, a day ahead of the high-profile Feb. 1 snow survey that state officials planned to take near Highway 50 by Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort with TV cameras in tow. The last time there was as much snow, 28 years ago, on Feb. 1, 1995, it was 207% of normal.

The huge bounty is the third largest statewide since 1950, when consistent statewide records began, according to a Bay Area News Group analysis of historical data. Only 1952 (267% of average) and 1969 (230%) had larger amounts on Feb. 1.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced recently that state water users would receive 30% of their requested water, rather than the 5% announced at the beginning of December. But his administration has also bee criticized for the state’s failure to build new water storage facilities.

Enough rain fell on the state to supply its needs for ten years, but 95% of the water is being allowed to run out to sea rather than being devoted to urgent human uses.

Meanwhile, a “water war” looms between California and six other western states that share the Colorado River. California rejected a compromise plan to share water cuts among the states, and released its own proposal.

Environmentalists say that climate change is causing increased droughts in the West — or, alternatively, that it is causing greater variability in precipitation, though there is little scientific evidence to support the latter claim.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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