California’s Snowpack Shrivels
As the comparison of satellite images above shows, last year at this time California’s Sierra Nevada range was buried in snow. And even as recently as January of this year, snowpack was looking pretty good.
But since then, the jet stream has ferried storms north of California, causing the snowpack to shrivel — from about 150 percent of average last February down to just a little more than 50 percent now.
Although the Sierra Nevada covers just a quarter of California, the range provides 60 percent of the state’s fresh water, serving 23 million people. The water also is vital to the state’s agricultural production, which supplies more than a third of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts consumed in the United States.