Sierra snow survey shows below average snowpack levels

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Despite deep snow tracks and recent storms in the Sierra, the Department of Water Resources says the state-wide snowpack is below average at 67 percent of normal.

“There’s still opportunity. We’re only through the first of our three wettest months of the season,” said Michael Anderson, a climatologist with the DWR. “December, January, February are typically when we record half of our annual precipitation.”

Thursday’s snow survey at Phillips Station recorded 80 percent of the long-term average for this time of year with a snow depth of 25.5 inches and water content of 9 inches.

“Nine inches of snow water content means we would be standing in nine inches of water right now if all the snow was to be melted,” said John King, an engineer with the DWR.

The department says today’s survey results have a better outlook than this time last year.While these results are below average, they are a stark contrast than where we were last year, where there was just patches of snow in this location.

The DWR is monitoring snowpack at more than 260 locations across the state.

One thing water managers are keeping an eye on – the potential impact of climate change.

The next snow survey will take place at the beginning of February.

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