…And It’s Not Even Winter Yet

Snow drifts at Squaw Valley last winter. (Photo: Gretchen Weber)

Good news for cities, towns and farms across the state that rely on the State Water Project: Today California’s Department of Water Resources doubled its projected 2011 deliveries of water from its initial 25% estimate to 50% of amounts requested.

Fifty percent doesn’t sound like much but compared to last year, when the initial projection for 2010 was a record-breaking low of five percent, this year is off to a pretty soggy start.  These allocations tend to climb throughout the season, so the 25 million Californians who rely on this water could actually see much higher numbers as the winter progresses.  2010 ended up with a 50% allocation despite its conservative early estimates.

Statewide, remote sensing indicates the mountain snowpack is 122% of normal for this date. As of Wednesday, the northern Sierra had already received nearly half its “normal” precipitation for the entire water year, which runs from October 1 to September 30, according to DWR.

And it looks like more of the same for the near future.  Meteorologists are predicting up to 15 feet of new snow for parts of the Northern Sierra by the middle of next week.