Sierra Nevada Starved for Snow - KMSP-TV

Dried Up: Sierra Nevada Starved for Snow

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As we close out the "meteorological winter" that runs from December 1st through February 28th, things are not looking good for our snow pack. A persistent area of high pressure over the eastern Pacific kept the winter storm track mostly north of California for the first two months of the year.

This "blocking" ridge resulted in the driest period in the northern Sierra Nevada since record keeping began in 1920. The water equivalent of the snow pack was 140% of average back on January 1st but has now fallen to just 66% of normal. The majority of our water here in Los Angeles comes from the snow melt of the Sierra Nevada.

It has been dry here in southern California as well. At USC in downtown LA there were only two days with measurable rain in February totally just .20". On average, 3.80" falls during the month. The graphic with the rainfall totals shows the January-February totals and the percentage of averages. Despite the lack of rain and snow, most of our state's reservoirs are still in pretty good shape. Castaic Lake is 87% full while Shasta Lake is at 79%.


Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program said "It's clearly not what we'd hoped for. But it's not as dire as it could be."


Rain and snow is in the forecast across the state next week but totals are not expected to be very significant. Remember to check the latest weather forecast right here on

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