BREAKING NEWS Barrett confirmed as Supreme Court justice in partisan vote Full Story
BREAKING NEWS Local Assistance Center to open for Trinity County residents affected by August Complex Full Story
SEVERE WX : Freeze Warning View Alerts

Declining Sierra Nevada snowpack levels potentially impacting state water supply

2020 is off to a dry start.

Posted: Feb 4, 2020 5:14 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - 2020 is off to a dry start, and it could be threatening California's water supply.

"The snowpack this year is looking a lot less than what we usually see," said Action News Now meteorologist Bryan Ramsey.

He echoes findings by the state: Snowpack levels are lower this year, after a January with little rain.

"Overall, we are about 75% of where we should be. Unless we see some major atmospheric rivers, which we haven't seen, we could be seeing a below-average year for snowpack, and that could be detrimental to agriculture and fire season," said Ramsey. 

Cal Fire reps say they're monitoring the situation, now working on vegetation management projects in advance of the warmer months.

"We are getting ready to burn come springtime, several projects being worked on in Cohasset and upper Magalia. When the time comes, we'll be burning and doing a lot of preventative measures," said John Gaddie with Cal Fire. 

"For agriculture, the most important is the lake levels. Considering they are average right now, I think they can hold out for the rest of this year," said Ramsey. 

The Sierra Nevada snowpack provides 30% of the overall freshwater in California. The Department of Water Resources conducts the survey.

"Our water supply is doing ok, and we'd like to see it do better. But a couple of dry months is not going to have a major impact in CA. A couple of atmospheric rivers could change the whole thing around. One to two could bring us back up to average. We've just got to wait and see what the rest of the wet season brings us," said Chris Orrock, a spokesperson with the California Department of Water Resources. 

"Who knows, we could see more thunderstorms later in this season, which would help keep vegetation wetter than normal. But...we could also be looking at lightning-related fires, so something we’ll be looking at as well.," added Ramsey. 

With some two months left before the next snowpack survey, the wait is on for more rain.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 906596

Reported Deaths: 17358
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2997606993
Riverside659021279
San Bernardino626191072
Orange585731447
San Diego54583870
Kern33813416
Fresno30752436
Sacramento25372484
Santa Clara24144388
Alameda23312461
San Joaquin21630489
Contra Costa18621241
Stanislaus17629396
Tulare17495286
Ventura14240164
Imperial12700336
San Francisco12103140
Monterey1137291
San Mateo11075159
Santa Barbara9781120
Merced9465155
Sonoma9312136
Kings822883
Solano728674
Marin7074128
Madera498174
San Luis Obispo414132
Placer409357
Yolo319159
Butte307852
Santa Cruz278825
Napa195715
Shasta187830
Sutter183712
San Benito143715
El Dorado13174
Yuba129310
Mendocino112721
Tehama8728
Lassen7661
Lake69615
Glenn6573
Nevada6088
Humboldt5629
Colusa5506
Calaveras34218
Amador32816
Tuolumne2694
Inyo22715
Siskiyou1930
Mono1802
Del Norte1781
Mariposa782
Plumas680
Modoc290
Trinity250
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 52°
Oroville
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 55°
Paradise
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 52°
Chester
Clear
25° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 25°
Red Bluff
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 59°
Willows
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 52°
Fire danger remains high over much of California on this Monday, and that will continue through Tuesday afternoon. Thankfully, most of the strongest wind has passed, and the wind will weaken through midweek.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events