The image is disturbing and leaves little doubt about California’s growing predicament: The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is a sad whisper of it was a year ago, a withering testament to the lack of precipitation in the state’s increasingly dry winter.
The National Weather Service tweeted satellite images of the Sierra on Tuesday, showing the stark difference between this year and the above-average snowfall from 2019. The mountain snowpack — a crucial element in the state’s annual water supply — is 53 percent of normal for this time of year, according to the Department of Water Resources.
What a difference a year makes! Left: 2019, Right: 2020. Sierra snow pack is below normal for this time of year, at about 58% statewide. Dry weather is expected to continue. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/yjxR5JceCp
— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) February 18, 2020
The immediate forecast isn’t promising. NWS meteorologist Emily Heller said there’s a chance of “some light mountain snow this weekend” — perhaps a couple of inches at elevations of 6,000 feet or above. Even that measly forecast is uncertain.
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