Sierra snow already at half of season’s measure

The Associated Press
Wednesday December 19, 2001

SACRAMENTO — With winter still officially a few days away, state hydrologists say the Sierra Nevada already has accumulated half the snow the region normally gets in the wet-weather season. 

A series of storms brought enough snow to please ski resort operators and skiers, and local water supply managers say this could mean a healthy supply of water stored in the Sierra Nevada snowpack. 

The mountain range’s snowpack is the source of two-thirds of California’s water for cities, farms and recreational uses. 

The snowpack was at 136 percent of its normal water content for mid-December as of Tuesday, said Jeff Cohen, spokesman for the state Department of Water Resources. 

“We’re already at 51 percent of a normal winter for the Northern Sierra. That’s 51 percent of what we expect by April 1,” Cohen said. 

The measurements are better in the north, he said, with the region north of Tahoe at 146 percent of normal. The central region, between Tahoe and the San Joaquin River, is at 132 percent and the southern area is at 129 percent. 

“It just keeps snowing and snowing and snowing,” said Katja Dahl, spokeswoman for the Squaw Valley USA ski resort in Tahoe City. “I think we’ve had more great powder days so far this year than all season last year. Mother Nature has been kind and generous.” 

The National Weather Service forecasts the next storm approaching Wednesday, bringing periods of rain or snow through Thursday. 


On the Net: 

Department of Water Resources: http://www.water.ca.gov