Months after being partly filled by a strong El Niño, California’s mountain snowpack in the northern Sierra Nevada is getting close to bare, triggering new drought concerns throughout the region.
Scientists say the last El Niño was among the strongest on record but it brought les than expected snow and rain to the region. Snow that it brought to northern part of the state during a string of storms in March has largely disappeared during the sunny and warm spring.
Frank Gehrke, chief snow surveyor for California, said, “As summer begins, California’s snowpack is pretty much getting close to bare. This is coming off of last year being the worst year on record in terms of snowpack.”
A large part of California depends on winter storms to deliver much of their water needs throughout the year. The Sierra Nevada snowpack serves as a natural water reservoir, when snow melts in summer.
According to the U.S. government’s Drought Monitor, most of the Golden State is abnormally dry for this time of year, while large swaths of southern part of the state remain in the grip of exceptional drought.
Adverse meteorological forces has pushed California into the fifth consecutive year of drought that has already cost the state thousands of farm-related jobs; and the projected arrival of El Niño’s counterpart, called La Niña, has triggered fresh drought concerns.
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