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Home / US / Atmospheric rivers are pulling California out of drought and piling on the snow

Atmospheric rivers are pulling California out of drought and piling on the snow



Atmospheric rivers that are dumping rain along the California coast are also dumping huge amounts of snow in the state's Sierra Nevada.

The recently released NASA photos taken four days and a year away show how much snow has fallen.

In its press release, NASA has identified Mammoth Mountain, which is now the snowiest ski resort in the United States, having received more than 37 feet from the start of the winter. On its website, Mammoth Mountain says all snowfall will allow the resort to stay open until July 4th.

"California typically receives most precipitation in December, January and February, and these storms have continued to add to our precipitation levels and increased the snowpack of the state," the Department spokesman told CNN of California's water resources, Chris Orrock. "Increasing the snowpack during these cold and wet months is very important."

The department is cautiously optimistic about the current amount of snow cover, Orrock said.

The snow and rain in California will not stop soon, either. More storms are destined to discharge even more precipitation.

Water is a godsend to the state, which in recent years has experienced a prolonged and dangerous drought. Things went so badly that the groundwater basins became depleted and some locations established water restrictions.

Atmospheric rivers – which are long and narrow regions in the atmosphere that carry columns of water vapor – have helped to wrest most of the state from drought and snow is bound to ensure California's water supply.

According to the DWR, when the snowpack of the Sierra Nevada melts in the warmer months, it replenishes about 30% of California's water needs later in the year.

Although much of the state is out of the drought, it will take time for the snowpack to replenish the underground water basins.

"That's why we must continue to make conservation a way of life in California," says Orrock.


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