Feb 4, 2021California dry conditions continue despite recent winter storms
The California Department of Water Resources conducted the second manual snow survey of the season Feb. 3 at Phillips Station. The manual survey recorded 63 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent (SWE) of 17 inches, which is 93% of average for this location.
The SWE measures the amount of water contained in the snowpack and is a key component of DWR’s water supply forecast.
“The recent blast of winter weather was a welcome sight, but it was not enough to offset this winter’s dry start,” DWR Director Karla Nemeth said in a news release. “While there is still a chance we will see additional storms in the coming weeks, the department and other state agencies are preparing for the potential for a second consecutive year of dry conditions.”
Statewide snow survey measurements reflect those dry conditions. Measurements from DWR’s electronic snow survey stations indicate that statewide the snowpack’s SWE is 12.5 inches, or 70% of the Feb. 3 average, and 45% of the April 1 average. April 1 is typically when California’s snowpack is the deepest and has the highest SWE.
Fall 2020 was extremely dry, especially in the Sierra Nevada, and follows last year’s below-average snow and precipitation. With only a couple months remaining in California’s traditional wet season, Californians should look at ways to reduce water use at home.
Each individual act of conservation makes a difference over time.
Visit SaveOurWater.com to learn easy ways to save water every day.
Photo at top: Nick Ellis, electrical engineer in Statewide Monitoring Network Section, left, assists as Sean de Guzman, chief Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecast, evaluates a measurement during a 2021 snow survey season event at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada Mountains about 90 miles east of Sacramento off Highway 50 in El Dorado County. Photo: Andrew Innerarity/California Department of Water Resources