SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A series of fierce February winter storms that have dumped record levels of snow on the Sierra and caused minor flooding in the Bay Area have driven away any fears of a return to drought conditions, federal officials said Thursday.
The U.S. Drought Monitor issued a report that showed dry and moderate drought conditions currently existed only along the northern border with Oregon and the southern border with Mexico.
Three months ago, more than three-quarters of the state was in moderate to extreme drought and the remainder was abnormally dry.
On Wednesday, several Lake Tahoe area ski resorts reported they have received all time levels of snow for February with at least one more major storm predicted to strike the region for the end of the month.
Alex Spychalsky, a spokeswoman for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, said the popular resort high in the Sierra has received 247 inches — more than 20 feet — of snow this month. The total shatters the resort’s previous February record of 196 inches set in 2017.
At the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, spokeswoman Lauren Burke, said 190 inches of snow has fallen in February — surpassing the previous record for the month of 168 inches set in 1986.
“It’s really hard to grasp the full scope of how much snow is in town and on the mountain until you see it,” Burke told the San Jose Mercury News. “There’s 15 to 20-foot tall snow banks around town. It’s been really incredible to see how much snow has actually piled up.”
The February rains have San Francisco now topping 106 percent of its normal rain total for this time of year with San Jose at 110 percent and Santa Rosa at 104 percent.
According to the California Department of Water Resources, the snowpack as of Thursday in the Northern Sierra was 127 percent of normal, in the Central Sierra including Tahoe was at 152 percent of normal and the Southern Sierra was at 150 percent of normal.