How Recent Rain And Snow Affects State Drought, Greater Lake Tahoe Region

Photo: FR66998 AP

A recent new round of heavy rain and snow wasn’t enough to significantly improve the state’s water storage levels.

Even after the atmospheric river storm Sunday and Monday, on top of a similar downpour in October, most reservoirs in Northern California saw little change, and remain below water levels both one year ago and historic averages, according to the data. “We may not be able to escape a record drought all in one year, but we can at least be in a better spot,” said Michael Anderson, a state climatologist with the California Department of Water Resource.

Meanwhile, a Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the greater Lake Tahoe region above 1,000 feet. Researchers at the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab say they got nearly another 5 feet of snow over the past 24-hours and one to 2 feet more are expected to fall later today and Wednesday. More fresh powder is in the forecast for December. The Central Sierra is now at 158% of average for snowfall for this time of year. The San Francisco Chronicle also reports that even though the reservoirs didn’t see a significant boost in the short term, the weekend did bring some snow — including 5 feet across the Sierra. In the spring, that snow will melt into runoff, adding to the reservoirs once more. The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab reported about 5 feet of snow in the last 48 hours at their facility, which is northwest of Lake Tahoe. As of Tuesday morning, the lab reported a total 119 inches of snow, or nearly 10 feet. The storm also brought much-needed snow to peaks around Lake Tahoe.

“If anybody is traveling up here, make sure (to) check those road conditions because there are a lot of chain controls and slowdowns,” said Dawn Johnson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno.

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