While still behind the overall average, the California snowpack has made significant gains since the beginning of the year. On December 31, the snowpack was measured at just 26 percent of the average for that time of year, with 2.5 inches of average snow water equivalent. The latest readings from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) put the statewide summary in a much better position. As of January 22, the California snowpack was measured at 55 percent of the average for this date. The measurement represents an average snow water equivalent of 8.2 inches. So far, California has amassed 30 percent of the overall April 1 average.
The Northern Sierra has been faring the best this winter, measuring 64 percent of the historical average for January 22. The Central Sierra is measured at 56 percent of the average and the Southern Sierra shows to be 35 percent of the average. While the recent storms in January have helped to strengthen the snowpack in California, it is still a far cry from the beginning of 2023. Last year at this time, the California snowpack was measured at 240 percent of the historical average for January 22. The 2024 water year has gotten off to a much slower start, however, the abundance of snow last winter has helped bolster water storage.
The latest data from DWR shows that most of the state’s major reservoirs currently sit well above the historical average. As of January 21, Shasta is measured at 115 percent of the average and 73 percent of total capacity. Oroville levels are 72 percent of total capacity and 128 percent of the average. Don Pedro measures 80 percent of its total capacity, equating to 114 percent of the average. New Melones is also 145 percent of the average at 83 percent of total capacity. Some reservoirs still below the historical average for January 21 include San Luis, Millerton, and Trinity.
Ag News Director / AgNet West