June 2, 2019 7:38 pm

California’s Sierra Nevada is seeing 33 times more snow than last year

This Wednesday,, Feb. 6, 2019 photo from video by Joel Keeler shows people attempting to clear cars buried in the parking lot of the showed-in Montecito Sequoia Lodge in Kings Canyon National Park in California's Sierra Nevada.

Joel Keeler via AP
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The amount of snow blanketing the Sierra Nevada is even larger than the 2017 snowpack that pulled the state out of a five-year drought, California water officials said.

READ MORE: Power lines nearly hit car in California after heavy snow brings down tree

As of Thursday, the snowpack measured 202 per cent of average after a barrage of storms throughout winter and spring, according to the Department of Water Resources.

The wet weather has slowed but not stopped, with thunderstorms prompting flash flood warnings Sunday in the central and southern parts of the state.

At this time last year, the snowpack measured six per cent of average – making this year 33 times bigger than 2018, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

WATCH: California driver avoids being hit by power lines after heavy snow brings down tree


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In 2017, the snowpack measured 190 per cent of average.

The snowpack supplies about 30 per cent of state water needs.

In the Tahoe Basin, Squaw Valley ski resort has seen so much snow it plans to keep its slopes open until least July 5. In May alone, Squaw recorded 94 centimetres.

State officials consider the most important snowpack measurement to be the one taken around April 1 because that’s typically when storm activity subsides.

READ MORE: All bets are off — it’s snowing in Las Vegas

“And then after that the sun’s highest position in the sky contributes to rapid melting. This year, that didn’t happen and we had late season snow,” National Weather Service forecaster Idamis Del Valle told the newspaper.

This year’s April 1 reading put the snowpack at 176 per cent of average, making it the fifth-largest on that date, with records going back to 1950, the Chronicle said.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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