The second Sierra snowpack measurement of the winter is Tuesday. January has brought much needed snow, but February may start a bit more slowly.
It was the best month for snowpack in January since 2011.
And the statewide snowpack is above normal.
"We've not had a snowpack for the last four years, anything worth writing home about, so this is obviously very significant for this time of year," says Meteorologist Michelle Mead, with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.
She says the recent pattern of storms every 1-to-3 days in California has shifted to the typical 3-to-5 days in-between weather systems.
And the outlook shows the first part of February will be drier than normal.
"El Niño, is still with us, so keep in mind the sea surface temperatures are going to remain in the strong category all the way into the March, April, May time frame, so there is still time to see more of those systems line up for us," Mead says.
Mead says more snowpack is needed in the northern Sierra, where the state's largest reservoirs are located, to provide water supply in the spring and summer.
Last April, the Sierra snowpack was minimal to non-existent.
The snowpack at the start of February and March 2015 was only 23 percent and 19 percent of average respectively on those dates, according to the DWR.
By April 1, 2015, "when the snowpack normally is at its peak, electronic readings showed the snowpack’s water content was only 5 percent of normal for that date, the lowest on record," the state agency reported. "The scant snowpack and subsequent drop in snowmelt runoff were large contributors to confirming California’s fourth consecutive year of drought."
The first Sierra snow survey of the winter in December 2015 by the California Department of Water Resources showed snowpack at 136 percent of the long-term January average.
Snowpack supplies about 30 percent of California’s water.
The second snow survey of the winter will be conducted by the Department of Water Resources Feb. 2 at Phillips Station off Highway 50 near Sierra-at-Tahoe Road.
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