Pacific storms continue to feed Sierra Nevada snowpack

Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Weather News

The snow piling onto the Sierra Nevada could be considered more of a snow pile-on at this point.

That's because several feet of white powder have accumulated across the range since the beginning of the month, adding to what has become one of the most bountiful winters California has had in a decade.

The entire Sierra snowpack sits at 141 percent of its seasonal average and is already above its April 1 benchmark, which is considered the end of California's rainy season and when plans for how to allocate the snowmelt to farmers through the summer kicks into high gear.

Heavenly ski resort at Lake Tahoe received 15 inches of snow Saturday and Sunday and more than 9 feet in the past week, the resort said on Twitter.

But it isn't all glowing news. Not only are several mountain passes across the mountains closed because of poor conditions or visibility or even avalanches, but even parked vehicles are at risk.

The Placer County Sheriff's Office published a video Sunday morning showing one of their SUVs crunched under a felled, snow-covered tree.

In Southern California, the California Highway Patrol was forced to pace vehicles traveling the Tejon Pass after this weekend's storm dropped snow levels to 2,500 feet, enough to trigger black ice and snow concerns in the Grapevine.

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Since Feb. 1, California has received roughly 18 trillion gallons of water, enough to fill up 45 percent of Lake Tahoe, the National Weather Service said.

The winter has also helped keep much of the state out of drought that plagued California for years. A third of the state (36 percent) was considered to be in normal conditions and more than half (52 percent) was considered only abnormally dry as of Thursday. None of the state is considered to be in extreme or exceptional drought, the worst conditions possible.

For perspective, at this point in 2015, only 0.16 percent of California was considered to be under normal conditions and more than 41 percent of the state was considered in exceptional drought, the worst conditions on the federal scale.

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