Up in the Sierra, Nearly Normal Snowpack Shows Drought Predictions Wrong

Tahoe winter
Drone photo of snow-capped mountains in Tahoe. Muamer Celik / UC Davis

The storms that swept across California over the past month have laid down enough snow to bring the Sierra to just shy of its long-term average, providing temporary relief for the nervous Nellies who monitor the state’s frozen water supply.

Although this is good news considering earlier predictions of drought, Jay Lund, professor of civil and environmental engineering and champion of the World Water Initiative Big Idea, said the state's drought risk is not yet gone.

“Every wet season we’re worried about droughts and we’re worried about floods, and every year we should be worried about both because both can happen,” Lund explained. “I think given the variability we have in California with water, we always have to pay attention and prepare for both droughts and floods and make sure that we are managing water well.”

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