Snow surveys begin in California near the end of December and last until May. Sometimes, on exceptional years, additional surveys will be done for the month of June. Well the December surveys are in for a few basins within the Sierra Nevada. The primary regions are related to the Sacramento and San Joaquin River systems. The large amount of rain/snow we received over the last several days is well needed in the persistent drought plaguing California. As of this posting, the snow pack is sitting at 45% of normal for the January 1 survey. If there are no more storms to bring snow, the state will be sitting at 17% of normal for the important April 1 survey. Examining the data shows a few peeks into where these systems are “dumping” the snow.
The snow data is updated monthly at the California Data Exchange Center. Looking at the January 1 survey, most of moisture coming down as snow was in the Sacramento region (74% to 97% of normal). The San Joaquin River system is bringing the state average down due to it’s 48% of normal for this time of year. However, keep in mind this is a preliminary survey. All the snow survey courses up and down the Sierra Nevada for many river systems will be completed in February. Let’s hope for more “wet snow” so the water content is high, which means closer to normal averages.