Snowfall in California could soon surpass 30-year record

Xavier Roger


A series of atmospheric rivers over California have pushed total snowfall just inches from a 30-year record held at the Central Snow Laboratory, a University of California, Berkeley field research station located at Donner Pass in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. 

“We passed the 2010/2011 season record of 53.58 feet on Monday, and this is now the third snowiest winter since the snow lab opened in 1946,” said Andrew Schwartz, lead scientist and manager at the snow lab. 

And more snow is expected to fall in the coming days.

“We are now less than 3 inches from the second snowiest winter record of 55.91 feet set in 1983, and we’ll likely hit that with next week’s storm,” Schwartz said. 

Here’s how this water year – counted Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 – stacks up against history:

A larger area of California has passed the 50-feet mark for snowfall

Since late February, areas with snowfall surpassing 50 feet in California has expanded, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Here is how the accumulation of snowfall from Oct.1, 2022, through March 14 compares with two weeks earlier on March 1st:

“We have seen a four-fold increase in total area of snowfall greater than 50 feet in recent weeks,” said Shawn Carter, a physical scientist at the National Water Center. 

That’s led to more snow at lower elevations.

“On March 1, most of the areas that accumulated 50 feet or more were located above 10,000 feet,” Carter said. “Now we are seeing some areas as low as 8,800 feet.”


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