Following years of dismal winter dustings for the Sierra Nevada Mountains, this season's El Niño has lifted snowpack to 115 percent of normal (the historical average for a particular date) according to the Associated Press in the Examiner. That's the deepest the stuff has been since 2011, when snowpack reached 129 percent of normal.
No, conditions are nothing to sneeze at, but in the words of water agency director Mark Cowin, “Our modest increase underscores the fact that we still have a critical water shortage after four-plus years of drought that we don’t know when will end.” To ease drought conditions, 150 percent of normal would be good.
As we saw last week, several northern California reservoirs are on their way to normal levels, and it's the snowpack runoff in the spring that will determine whether the drought can be called dunzo.
The LA Times adds that water officials will be in the field taking measurements of the snow next month. They'll be determining how much water the snowpack contains.
Last year, “The scant snowpack and subsequent drop in snowmelt runoff were large contributors to confirming California’s fourth consecutive year of drought,” said the California Department of Water Resources in a statement.