For those of you still dealing with snow who are feeling jealous of our lovely California weather:
Snow-surveying crews across the Sierra are seeing bad news up close this week. California has about half a snowpack.
Skiing, snowshoeing or riding helicopters, the crews are making their way to high-elevation meadows for the most important snow measurement of the year.
April 1 is the unofficial end of the snowfall season — this year, following a miserably dry January, February and March. City officials, industry leaders and farmers will get a good idea of how much water to expect when the snow melts.
Reports won’t be finished for a few days, but California already has reason to be disappointed. Big storms in November and December built the snowpack to 140 percent of average on Jan. 1. Now automated snow sensors show it is at 54 percent.
The snowpack was only 46 percent of average at this point last March — meaning the state had two bad years in a row. There’s no state drought emergency because reservoirs are holding about an average amount of water.
But the “d” word is filtering into conversations among weather experts.
“We’re in a meteorological drought,” said Paul Iniguez of the National Weather Service in Hanford. “We had record-setting dry months for some places in California during January and February,” the meteorologist said.
Conditions in Merced and the rest of the region have been very dry this rainfall season despite a series of powerful storms that initially brought above-average precipitation.
This month, little more than a quarter of an inch of rain has been recorded as of Wednesday. Normal precipitation for March is 1.80 inches. This season, 6.52 inches of rain has been recorded, compared to 10.56 inches at this point in a normal rainfall season, records show.
IOW: No clouds = no silver linings
Be careful what you wish for.