Thursday, April 20, 2017

California Ski Resort Has Had About 65 FEET Of Snow This Season

Uncovering a ski resort shack recently at Squaw Alpine
near Lake Tahoe, California. 
Here in Vermont, ski season is winding down, after a weird winter, that ultimately ended up OK with a fair amount of snow for winter sports enthusiasts.

A few die-hard resorts are open in the North Country, but as things green up and warm up, that will end soon, too.

Out in California, maybe not as soon as here. Several ski resorts have had 700 inches or more of snow this stormy snow season, and one resort is flirting with 800 inches.

According to the Weather Channel, the Sugar Bowl Resort in the northern Sierra Nevada mountains has had 777 inches of snow so far, and more might be on the way. That's nearly 65 FEET of snow.

Imagine shoveling that out of your driveway.  Then again, you wouldn't even be able to find your house, so there's that.

Of course, there was never 65 feet of snow on the ground at Sugar Bowl Resort because some snow compacted and melted over the course of the season. But still, there's a LOT of snow out ther.e

Believe it or not, the deep snow at Sugar Bowl isn't even close to the record for the most snow in one season at a place in the United States.

That honor goes to Mount Baker Ski Area in Washington State, which had 1,140 inches of snow during the winter of 1998-99. That would be 95 feet of snow.

This year, all that snow stored up in the Sierra Nevada mountains is a good thing, since it will melt over the course of spring and summer and feed reservoirs needed for drinking water and agriculture.

Melting snow from the Sierra Nevada normally supplies about one third of California's drinking and irrigation water supplies.

The melt from the Sierra Nevada hasn't started in earnest yet. In fact, they might get a little more snow in the next couple of days.

The one drawback to all this reservoir-replenishing snow in the California mountains is what happens if it melts too fast?

Snowpack in the Sierra was 164 percent of average as of April 1, which is normally near the peak of the snow depth in those mountains. That's the most since 2011 and the seventh most since 1950, says the Los Angeles Times.

If any strong heat waves develop over California, the rapid snow melt could overrun rivers, especially in the San Joaquin Valley, which already had its share of flooding during the winter storms earlier this year.

The bottom line: California is loving all this water coming off the mountains, but they don't want it all at once. A little at a time, please.

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