California Dreamin’ [Of More Snow]

Jan 4, 2022

Major winter storms might have rampaged through the U.S. recently, but California is seeing the sunny side.

The storms left behind serious snowfall, pulling much of the state out of “exceptional drought” levels. A helpful holiday gift to ag producers across the state.

State officials say that snowpack is now 160% of its average—and even higher in the Sierra Nevada, which supplies nearly a third of California’s water needs. The Central Sierra snow lab recorded 193.7 inches of snow in December. That’s a lot of shoveling. 

No pressure: Starting in October, the 2022 water year has had the wettest start in 40 years, smashing snow and rainfall records.

Still, the trend’s got to continue through January and February to set the state back on track from the previous two dry winters. 150% of the average snowfall is needed for the best chance to end the drought by spring. And roughly 90% of California’s rain and snow happens in the winter months between October and April, so Mother Nature has to be feeling the heat.

Where this goes: Even with extra snowfall, the drought is still kicking. The past couple years of dry weather have forced farmers to cut back cultivation, drill new wells, and even buy water from other sources, as their regular water deliveries have declined.

Reservoirs remain low, including in the Central Valley Project, which the main agricultural hub of California relies on. But… above-normal precipitation is predicted for California next week, so hopefully snow angels will continue to reign over the state.