Category Archives: Sierra Nevada Mountains

California Receives Surprising Amount of Snow Pack

Over the past decade, one of the largest focuses in the State of California has been on the lack of water in lakes and rivers around the state. The continued annual decline in water in the spring months had many people concerned that there could be a major water shortage within the next few years.


While water shortage in California will always be a concern for residents and government officials, a recent news article ( has pointed out that the concerns could be relieved for at least one year. During the 2016 and 2017 winter, many people that liked to snow recreationally have enjoyed the fact that the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Lake Tahoe region have received a significant amount of snow. While most people knew that there was a lot of snow in the region for skiing, the actual level of snowpack has been surprising.


Based on recent tests in the area, there is currently around 46 inches of snow packed snow in the Lake Tahoe region mountains. While this has been great for skiers, it has also been a huge relief for people that were concerned about the continued level of drought in California. That amount of snow in Lake Tahoe is equal to about 180 percent of the normal snowpack this time of the year. Overall, mountains in California have around 150 percent of the typical snowpack.


Over the next few months, the snow on the top of the mountains will continue to melt and will eventually make its way down the mountain into the rivers and lakes below. At this point, it is not considered to be much of a concern, but some believe that if it melts to soon it could cause some minor flooding. While the State of California appears to have enough snow to alleviate drought concerns for at least one year, the state will continue its efforts to conserve water as much as possible. Over the past few years, they have been able to introduce a number of regulations that have helped to reduce water usage by as much as twenty-five percent in some areas.


High Snowpack in Sierra Nevada Mountains

After years of drought, many regions in California have been inundated with wet, wintry weather. When rain fell in the western areas of the state, snow fell on the Sierra Nevada Mountains. So much snow fell, in fact, that the snowpack is about 164% of average. In some areas, like Phillips Station in El Dorado County, it was as high as 183% of average. In a few spots, the snow has accumulated to measure 50 feet. During many of these storms, roads had to be temporarily closed due to slippery and hazardous conditions.


All of this snow has been a boon for businesses based in the mountains. Since late fall, ski resorts in Lake Tahoe and in the more southern areas of the state have seen people continue to pack the slopes. People had to plan their travel wisely to dodge the potentially treacherous conditions on the roads leading up to the resorts, but once they were there, they had time and money to spend.


It seems like business will stay steady well into the spring. This is a stark contrast to a few years ago when the fresh powder was hard to find.


A few more storms can’t be ruled out in the upcoming weeks, but as the weather turns warmer, the snowpack will slowly start to melt. The run-off will flow into streams and creeks, and the rivers running down from the hills will likely be fast and furious.


The downside of all of this is the greater likelihood for mudslides and floods. Several communities in Northern California have faced their share of problems related to the precipitation this winter. In February, the spillway at Lake Oroville reservoir was damaged, and almost 200,000 people were evacuated.


The upcoming months should be drier, giving everyone a break from a season that was packed with storm after storm.