Much-needed mountain snow and rain returned to California this winter, but fell short of expectations amid a super El Niño.
The official snow season for California’s Sierra Nevada came to an end at the start of April on a below-normal note and one that AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark called “disappointing.”
The amount of water stored in the snow for the entire mountain chain averaged 14 percent below normal on April 1, according to the California Cooperative Snow Surveys.
The northern Sierra fared better than the southern Sierra with the amount of water in the snow averaging only 5 percent below normal, compared to the 27 percent below normal in the south.
“The numbers are not anywhere near what many had wanted going into the winter,” Clark said. “The much-heralded El Niño brought more snow than the previous four years, but that was not hard to accomplish.”
El Niño occurs when ocean water temperatures rise above normal across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean, near the equator, and typically leads to more storms targeting California.
“The snow that falls over the Sierra Nevada in the winter is crucial during the spring and summer as melting snow accounts for roughly 30 percent of California’s water supply,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Lada said. Read More: http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/el-nino-snow-california-drought-disappointing-season/56451887
The good news? Reservoir levels in the north are above normal now. More good news is that May has started off wet, especially in the Tahoe area.