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Southern Sierra Loses Snow Cover

Posted by feww on May 27, 2014

SCENARIOS 03, 04, 101

ZERO Snow on Southern Sierra Mountains

California’s Southern Sierra has lost all of its snow cover, as of May 27, 2014. Snowpack provides about a third of the water used by California’s cities and farms.

The statewide average snow water equivalent in the Golden State  dropped to less than 0.3 inch, or just 3% of the average for the date, and only 1% of the April 1 average.

SWEQ Map calif 27may2014

The following is a summary of California Cooperative Snow Surveys as reported on May 27, 2014 .

SWEQ table Calif 27may2014

Impact of Drought on Calif Agriculture

California’s drought could cost farmers at least $2billion this year, forcing them to leave fallow up to a million acres of land.

Tens of thousands of full time and seasonal jobs could be lost as a result of the drought, now in its third year, described by officials as catastrophic.

 Crop Disasters in Calif

All of the 58 counties in the country’s most populous and 3rd largest state have now been declared crop disaster areas at least once this year.

Disaster Applications

The Golden State has made 362 Disaster Applications to USDA, as of May 1, 2014, compared with 157 for the entire 2012, and 331 throughout 2013.

Three Weeks Ago…

Vital groundwater provides up to 60% of California’s water supply during droughts

California groundwater resources are at historically low levels, and recent groundwater levels are more than 100 feet below previous historic lows in some parts of the state, according to a recent report released by the California Department of Water Resources.

About 30 million Californians, over three quarters of the state’s population, receives at least part of their drinking water from groundwater, said California Water Foundation.

Groundwater is the only supply available for some regions during drought, and it’s critical to the state’s agricultural economy.

Drought causes water famine leading to crop disasters. It degrades water quality, and leads to surface and groundwater level declines, land subsidence, soil erosion, intense wildfires, humongous dust storms, and spread of disease.

Related Links

One Response to “Southern Sierra Loses Snow Cover”

  1. Andre said

    Average inflow of the North Fork of the Kern River at Kernville was at 900 cu ft/sec, May 28, and is quickly dropping, now at 600 cu ft/sec on May 31 (Corps of Engineers data). I kayaked this river in late May for a decade, 1970-1980. In a year with good snow, the flow was in the 10,000 cu ft/sec range (I rode it at 13,000+ on a Memorial Day weekend, quite thrilling). This river has had flows reported up to 74,000 cu ft/sec (in 1966). The average from 2000-2014 is around 2200 cu ft/sec in late May. We had irregular snowstorms throughout the winter into March, even covering my property in November. But this was thin snow that melted almost immediately. Of course, the El Nino said to be developing in the Western Pacific could change this overnight. I would rather see a snowpack than torrential rains, sending a season’s worth of water down the canyon in a week. I have seen El Nino-generated storms turn dry desert washes into mini-Colorado’s overnight.

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