State snowpack picks up ground, but still remains below average

The incoming storms over the weekend are expected to help drive California’s snowpack closer to average conditions.

Snowpack conditions in the Sierra Nevada mountains have improved with the recent storms. 

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) conducted a snow survey on Thursday, revealing better conditions that are still below average. 


By the numbers: The DWR found that the statewide snowpack’s snow water equivalent is 18.7 inches, which is 80 percent of average for the date. 

  • While it’s still below average, the snow water equivalent has improved greatly from the 28 percent of average at the start of the year. 
  • The snowpack is currently at 70 percent of the April 1 average, when the snowpack is typically at its peak. 

Increased precipitation: California experienced an above average number of storms in January and February, yet they were warmer than average, resulting in more rain than snow. 

  • Statewide precipitation is 103 percent of average, and surface water storage in California’s major reservoirs is currently 119 percent above average. 

What they’re saying: Kings River Watermaster Steve Haugen addressed the local impact of the new snowpack results, looking ahead to what needs to happen in March. 

  • “February 2024 precipitation in the region is about 160 percent above average,” Haugen said. “The snowpack water content has more than doubled in the past month. However, in March we will need to have at least seven inches precipitation in the basin to be at average conditions before spring snow melt starts.”
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