During Christmas weekend, winter storms across the West brought a lot of snow and record low temperatures in some areas – and the precipitation is not done yet. According to NPR, a winter storm warning continues through Wednesday in Northern California and Nevada.
The Pacific Northwest wasn’t spared either. The Seattle area got up to 6 inches of snow and Oregon state officials declared an emergency. Seattle’s low of 20 degrees on Dec. 26 broke the previous record set in 1948. Utilities in the western part of both states reported some 5,000 customers without power during the ordeal.
Gizmodo reports that “California’s epic snowstorms are great news,” and American West tends to agree. While it doesn’t magically fix the state’s longstanding drought, snowfall totals ranged from 145%-161% of normal for this time of year.
According to California’s Department of Water Resources, snowfall totals were 145% of normal for this date in the Northern Sierra Nevadas; 157% in the Central Sierra Nevadas; and 161% of normal in the Southern Sierra Nevadas.
A 50-year record was broken in Tahoe by more than 23 inches (total December snowfall as of Dec. 27 measured 16 feet and 1.7 inches, according to the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab.
Gizmodo notes that about one-third of The Golden State’s water comes from the winter snowpack in the Sierra Nevadas.
However, it’s important at this stage to remain only cautiously optimistic about what this means for 2022. April 1 is used to judge a year to be high snow, average or low snow and according to the California Data Exchange Center, the state has only reached 49%-56% of that April 1 average, meaning more snow is needed.
Still, California hasn’t had this much snow so early in the season since the 2012-2013 winter, so it’s a good sign. Let it snow!