December 23, 2015--California snowpack exceeds average for first time in years (Los Angeles Times)

A series of powerful snowstorms in the Sierra Nevada has resulted in a small milestone in drought-stricken California: The snowpack is now higher than average for this time of year. The storms, which are likely to continue into Friday, have fattened the mountain snowpack to levels California hasn't seen for two years, said Steve Nemeth, water supply forecaster for the state Department of Water Resources. The announcement was welcome news to a state that has struggled with extremely dry conditions for more than four years. However, experts were quick to point out that California's drought is far from over. Statewide, the snowpack is 111% of average for the date. In the northern Sierra, it is 116% of the norm; in the central Sierra, 121% of average and in the southern Sierra, 85% of the norm. Last year at this time, the statewide snowpack was little more than half the average, setting the tone for a dismal winter of bare Sierra slopes. Snow in these areas is a key source of water for the state. “We are above average and that's a very good thing,” Nemeth said, adding a note of caution. “We've been fooled before on above-average Decembers” with disappointing sequels. To view the full article visit the Los Angeles Times.