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Wet December stirs some hope for drought-stricken California -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Placer County, California (USA), December 28, 2021. Picture taken December 28, 2021. JESSICA BOYLES, via REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters] – The record snowfalls that have shut down roads across the West United States and caused delays for flights in California has also been a blessing. Officials said Thursday that California’s snowpack was now much higher than normal.

According to California’s Department of Water Resources, the snowpack at Phillips Station, Sierra Nevada, has increased by more than 200% since a series of mountain blizzards. Once the snow has run off to reservoirs or aqueducts, almost one third of California’s water supply comes from the Sierra Nevada.

According to the DWR, statewide snowpack has reached 160% of its annual average.

Karla Nemeth is the DWR director. She stated, “We could have not asked for a more perfect December in terms Sierra Snow and Rain.”

Scientists say California is experiencing more droughts and severe weather as a result of climate change. These are threatening California’s fragile water supply, creating the conditions for wildfires, and putting California at risk.

The DWR cautioned against complacency despite the heavy precipitation in 2021.

According to the DWR, to make up the losses from the previous winters (the state’s fifth and second-driest on record), the state will still need to receive “significant” precipitation in January/February.

Sean de Guzman (manager of DWR’s Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit) stated that California continues to see evidence of climate change. He said, “California is experiencing larger swings between dry and wet years and even extreme volatility within a single season.”

Although he added that the winter season would have a wet beginning, it did not automatically mean there would be more precipitation than usual in 2022.

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