California’s #snowpack is among the deepest ever. Now get ready for the perilous ‘big melt’ — The Los Angeles Times #runoff (April 4, 2023)

West snowpack April 3, 2023 via the NRCS.

Click the link to read the article on The Los Angeles Times website (Sean Greene and Hayley Smith). Here’s an excerpt:

The snowpack is so deep that it currently contains roughly 30 million acre-feet of water — or more water than Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, according to a Times analysis of snow sensor data. But though the bounty has eased drought conditions, experts warn that the dense Sierra Nevada snowpack will soon melt, potentially unleashing torrents of water and creating considerable concern about spring flooding in valleys, foothills and communities below…

State officials announced the record snowpack Monday at their fourth snow survey of the season at Phillips Station near South Lake Tahoe. The surveys are conducted monthly, with April 1 serving as the benchmark date when the snowpack is typically deepest. The statewide snowpack on Monday was 237% of normal for the date — the deepest on record since the state’s network of snow sensors was established in the mid-1980s. The snow water equivalent — or the amount of water contained in the snow — was 61.1 inches. It is also deeper than previous records of 227% set in 1983 and 224% set in 1969, and tied with the record of 237% set in 1952, measured using earlier tools and baselines. Those were the only other years with April snowpack above 200%, said Sean de Guzman, manager of snow surveys for the Department of Water Resources…

Snowpack in the southern Sierra was even deeper, measuring a record 306% of normal for the date…The abundance of water allowed state and federal agencies to drastically increase allocations for water providers across the state and also prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to roll back some of his drought emergency restrictions, which were issued in 2021 amid the state’s driest three years on record.

West Drought Monitor map March 28, 2023.

But though the U.S. Drought Monitor and other indicators of dryness are significantly improved, it is possible to have too much of a good thing, experts said.

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