The current gigantic snow dump, combined with January’s storms, could break 40-year-old snowpack records in parts of the state, as the forecast calls for more cold and precipitation through March and possibly into April.

How bad is the current Lake Tahoe-area snowstorm, which has brought traffic to a halt on I-80 and caused avalanche evacuations? For the answer to that question, look no further than the Sugar Bowl Resort marketing office, whose doors opened Wednesday morning to the sight below.

Those early January storms and floods feel like years ago, as we’ve seen so much extreme weather since, and it’s fair to say at this point that 2023 is shaping up to be a very weird weather year. Now the Chronicle reports that the parts of the Sierra snowpack could break 40-year-old records, as this week’s storm is expected to continue for days, with plenty more precipitation is expected through the month of March.

“Statewide, the snowpack is 181% of average for this time of year and 156% of average for April 1, when the California snowpack typically peaks,” the Chronicle reports. “In some parts of the Sierra, snowpack levels are even on pace to surpass totals for the 1982-1983 season — the winter of record in the modern era.”

But to unpack this snowpack talk, parts of the Sierra region are on pace to break records, others are not. As the Chron explains, the Southern Sierra is ahead of snowpack levels from that 1982-1983 record, the Central Sierra is a little behind that record pace, and the Northern Sierra is well behind the pace of that 1982-1983 winter record. But all of these areas are far ahead of their snowfall averages for this time of year.

“It’s very possible we’ll end up vying for one of the top two snow years on record in parts of the state,” UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain said in his latest weather video podcast Monday. “We’re going to end this year with a very large Sierra Nevada snowpack,”

As seen above, Palisades Tahoe estimates that they’ve gotten “over 12 FEET of snow” this week. Longer-term forecasts predict that rain is expected to continue through March (here in the Bay Area, it’s predicted that the rain will return Saturday), and possibly into April.  That is good for drought conditions, though, as UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab lead scientist and manager Andrew Schwartz tells the Chronicle, “This is the year, I think, that a lot of us were looking for.”

Related: Avalanche Buries Tahoe Apartment Building, Several Areas Evacuated Over Avalanche Risk [SFist]

Image: @sugarbowlresort via Twitter