Hefty Sierra snowpack more than double last year’s totals, surveys show

Heavy storms in the Sierra from late November into early December have boosted statewide snowpack to more than 100 percent of normal for this time of year, according to California Department of Water Resources data.

According to the most recent snow surveys, snowpack as of last Wednesday stood at 106 percent of normal across the state, and higher in some parts of the mountain range.

The central Sierra, from Tahoe to Yosemite, was at 113 percent of average as of last Wednesday, and the south Sierra was at 125 percent of average last Thursday thanks to a huge storm that brought feet of snow to Mono County.

It’s more than double last year’s totals for the same time frame. Statewide snowpack was 50 percent of average or less by early December 2017, DWR survey data show.

And this month’s snowpack may grow even more. Some rain and snow are forecast to continue near Tahoe on Monday, according to National Weather Service Reno.

NASA satellite images show a snow-less California as late as Nov. 20. By Dec. 2, most of the Sierra was white-capped.

Multiple weather systems over the last two weeks have led to snowstorms, travel delays on Highway 50, “near white out conditions” in isolated areas and plenty of fresh powder at Tahoe ski resorts.

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