Published Mar 3, 2017 at 7:34 AM | Updated at 2:03 PM PDT on May 3, 2019
California's Sierra Nevada snowpack is a critical factor in the state's water supply. It also looks like a lot of fun to measure. Below, take a look at winter's snowpack surveys and the results they produced, dating back to the 1950s. Hundreds of sites around California each year are measured to give water resources planners an idea of what California can expect for its water supply.
An April 2, 2019 survey found snowpack at 200-percent of average at Phillips Station after winter's storms. Statewide, snowpack was at 162 percent of average.
The snow along the 400-mile Sierra mountain range melts in the spring in a traditional wet season, runs off into reservoirs ahead of the state's dry, hot summers and provides about 30 percent of California's water. Water managers use a measurement called "snow water equivalent," which is the depth of water that theoretically would result if the entire snowpack melted at once.