Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
NASA Satellite Images Tell the Story of California's Growing Snowpack
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 2 months ago on
February 23, 2024

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

State snowpack was 28% of normal on Jan. 1. It’s 86% of normal today.

More storms are forming over the Pacific Ocean.

Downtown LA has already gotten 17.8 inches of rain this water season.


After a dry start to winter, California’s wet season is finally well underway.

December downpours sent water racing through streets in coastal Ventura County and the city of Santa Barbara. Flash floods hit San Diego in late January, and back-to-back atmospheric river-fueled storms arrived earlier this month, causing wind damage in Northern California and hundreds of mudslides in Los Angeles. Yet another storm blew through over Presidents Day weekend.

The frequent deluges have fended off a return to the drought that has plagued the state over the past decade. Some parts of California are so wet these days that even Death Valley National Park has a lake big enough for kayakers. Still, the state is not on pace for a repeat of last year’s epic rain. And the mountains haven’t seen nearly as much snow as a year ago.

Here’s a look at California’s winter so far:

WHAT ABOUT SNOW?

The vital Sierra Nevada snowpack, which normally supplies about 30% of California water when it melts, has rebounded somewhat from a slow start.

In addition, forecasts indicate that more storms are building over the Pacific Ocean. If they materialize, the snowpack will get an additional boost.

The snowpack’s water content Wednesday was 86% of normal amounts to date and 69% of the April 1 average, when it is normally at its peak, according to the state Department of Water Resources.

On Jan. 30, the water content was just 52% of the average for that date — a far cry from a year earlier when it was around 200% of its average content, thanks to repeated atmospheric rivers that dramatically ended California’s driest three-year period on record.

HAS ALL THIS RAIN HELPED?

Downtown Los Angeles has received nearly 17.8 inches of rain, already more than an entire year’s worth of annual precipitation, which is measured from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 of the following year. This is now the fourth-wettest February in downtown since since weather records began in 1877, according to the National Weather Service.

But while rainfall has reached historic levels in Southern California, it remains to be seen if the year will be regarded as very wet for the state overall.

Northern California is only just approaching its annual average, with about a month and a half to go for the wet season, which “makes it very hard to get ‘extremely wet,’ ” said Jay R. Lund, vice-director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis.

“We’re already wet enough that it’s not going to be a deep drought year, and the really wet years, they are already much wetter than this,” Lund said.

WERE RESERVOIRS REPLENISHED?

Even with the laggard start to the current rainy season, water storage in California’s major reservoirs has been well above average thanks to runoff from last year’s historic snowpack.

Some reservoirs have been releasing water into rivers to make room for incoming storm runoff and maintain flood control protection for downstream areas.

The Department of Water Resources announced Wednesday that the State Water Project is forecasting that public water agencies serving 27 million people will receive 15% of requested supplies, up from December’s initial 10% allocation.

The department said that the assessment doesn’t include the impact of storms this month, and the allocation could be further revised in mid-March.

Lake Oroville, the State Water Project’s largest reservoir, was at 134% of its average amount to date, but the department noted that the Northern California headwaters of the State Water Project saw below-average precipitation from storms over the past two months.

Contractors of the Central Valley Project, a federally run system that supplies major farming districts, will also receive 15% of their requested water supplies, federal authorities said Wednesday. That could change with more storms.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Tent Compound Rises in Southern Gaza as Israel Prepares for Rafah Offensive

DON'T MISS

Costa Seeks Legislation to Prevent Reedley Lab Repeat

DON'T MISS

Fresno Home Care Workers Threaten Civil Disobedience Over Low Pay

DON'T MISS

Sacramento Bee Accused of Mangling the Facts About Fish Caught in Pumps

DON'T MISS

Legacy of Speed: The 1,600 Horsepower 1957 ‘Skeva’ Chevy Bel Air Built in Fresno

DON'T MISS

KMJ’s Gabriel & Musson Win Radio Honors, Fresno Council Plaudits

DON'T MISS

Tabloid Publisher Says He Pledged to Be Trump Campaign’s ‘Eyes and Ears’ During 2016 Race

DON'T MISS

General Motors Reports Strong First-Quarter Profits as Prices Help Offset Small US Sales Dip

DON'T MISS

Caitlin Clark Is Set to Sign a New Nike Deal Valued at $28 Million Over 8 Years, Reports Say

DON'T MISS

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

UP NEXT

Costa Seeks Legislation to Prevent Reedley Lab Repeat

UP NEXT

Fresno Home Care Workers Threaten Civil Disobedience Over Low Pay

UP NEXT

Sacramento Bee Accused of Mangling the Facts About Fish Caught in Pumps

UP NEXT

Legacy of Speed: The 1,600 Horsepower 1957 ‘Skeva’ Chevy Bel Air Built in Fresno

UP NEXT

KMJ’s Gabriel & Musson Win Radio Honors, Fresno Council Plaudits

UP NEXT

Tabloid Publisher Says He Pledged to Be Trump Campaign’s ‘Eyes and Ears’ During 2016 Race

UP NEXT

General Motors Reports Strong First-Quarter Profits as Prices Help Offset Small US Sales Dip

UP NEXT

Caitlin Clark Is Set to Sign a New Nike Deal Valued at $28 Million Over 8 Years, Reports Say

UP NEXT

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

UP NEXT

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

Sacramento Bee Accused of Mangling the Facts About Fish Caught in Pumps

15 hours ago

Legacy of Speed: The 1,600 Horsepower 1957 ‘Skeva’ Chevy Bel Air Built in Fresno

16 hours ago

KMJ’s Gabriel & Musson Win Radio Honors, Fresno Council Plaudits

16 hours ago

Tabloid Publisher Says He Pledged to Be Trump Campaign’s ‘Eyes and Ears’ During 2016 Race

17 hours ago

General Motors Reports Strong First-Quarter Profits as Prices Help Offset Small US Sales Dip

17 hours ago

Caitlin Clark Is Set to Sign a New Nike Deal Valued at $28 Million Over 8 Years, Reports Say

18 hours ago

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

19 hours ago

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

19 hours ago

Wall Street Rallies and Adds to Its Hot Start to the Week

19 hours ago

The Icon Returns: Discover the All-New 2024 Land Cruiser

19 hours ago

Tent Compound Rises in Southern Gaza as Israel Prepares for Rafah Offensive

Satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press appear to show a new compound of tents being built near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza S...

13 hours ago

13 hours ago

Tent Compound Rises in Southern Gaza as Israel Prepares for Rafah Offensive

13 hours ago

Costa Seeks Legislation to Prevent Reedley Lab Repeat

14 hours ago

Fresno Home Care Workers Threaten Civil Disobedience Over Low Pay

15 hours ago

Sacramento Bee Accused of Mangling the Facts About Fish Caught in Pumps

16 hours ago

Legacy of Speed: The 1,600 Horsepower 1957 ‘Skeva’ Chevy Bel Air Built in Fresno

16 hours ago

KMJ’s Gabriel & Musson Win Radio Honors, Fresno Council Plaudits

17 hours ago

Tabloid Publisher Says He Pledged to Be Trump Campaign’s ‘Eyes and Ears’ During 2016 Race

17 hours ago

General Motors Reports Strong First-Quarter Profits as Prices Help Offset Small US Sales Dip

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend