Sierra snowpack dips to normal |

Sierra snowpack dips to normal

SACRAMENTO (AP) ” The Sierra snowpack has shrunk to normal levels after a series of big winter storms in January and early February was followed by a relative dry spell.

While storms have tapered off in recent weeks, the state Department of Water Resources says the amount of snow remaining should be enough to fill the reservoirs that feed the state’s water system.

The department’s fourth snow survey of the season on Wednesday found the snowpack was 105 percent of normal for this time of year in the northern part of the Sierra and 103 percent of normal for the southern part of the range. It was 89 percent of average in the central Sierra.

The snowpack was less than half its normal depth at the same time last year. That sparse winter snowfall left Northern California reservoirs depleted to between 40 percent and 60 percent of their capacity.

The snowpack measurements taken Wednesday showed a decline from just a month ago.

In late February, the snowpack was 122 percent of normal in the northern Sierra and 130 percent of normal in the south. The average was 118 percent of normal across the entire 400-mile-long range.

It’s not likely to increase through the rest of spring, said Rudy Cruz, a National Weather Service specialist in Reno.

He said no significant storms are on the horizon. While the region may see light rain or snow in the next few weeks, most of the heavy weather is passing to the north.

“This time of year, things are pretty much done in the Sierra,” Cruz said.

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