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Dry spell to slow California’s record snowpack growth


California’s snowpack continues to grow at a record pace. However, an extended dry period will slow the growth for at least a couple of weeks.

As of Monday, all three major basins were pacing above 200% of normal for Jan. 16, according to Department of Water Resources.

In Northern California, the Northern Sierra/Trinity Basin was 209%. The Central Sierra was 246%, and the Southern Sierra was an astounding 288%.

California snowpack as of Jan. 16, 2023 (California Department of Water Resources)

“The snowpack is really at epic levels,” said state climatologist Michael Anderson. “We’re on pace ahead of the record (snow)pack of 1982-1983.”  

Experts say the most recent storm that moved out Monday will be the last significant moisture California receives in January as high pressure builds over the region.

“We’re going to run into a two week stretch of dry weather so hopefully (the snowpack) will just stay flat for those next couple of weeks rather than eroding,” Anderson said.

California’s snowpack is pacing ahead of the record snowpack of 1982-1983. (California Department of Water Resource)

Further west, the snowpack is also pacing above average along the Colorado River basins. Snow-water equivalent in the central and western Rockies ranges from 131% to 141% of normal.

The Colorado River, which includes Lake Powell and Lake Mead, is Southern California’s primary source of drinking water.


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