April 8, 2017
The northern Sierra Nevada, which supplies water for much of the rest of California, is poised to surpass its wettest year in recorded history well before the rainy season comes to a close.
As of Saturday morning, the region had accumulated an average of 87.5 inches of water across eight northern Sierra stations since the beginning of the season on Oct. 1, according to data from the California Department of Water Resources.
Erick Kurth, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said rain and snow predicted for the upcoming week could help bring the extra water needed to exceed the 1982-1983 record. Areas throughout the Sierra mountains saw snowfall into Saturday afternoon. Rain is expected to shower the region again beginning Tuesday and and last through Thursday.The current record for the northern Sierra was established when the water year running from Oct. 1, 1982 through Sept. 30, 1983 saw a total of 88.5 inches.
Kurth said a fairly wet fall season paired with rain and snowfall brought on by a series of atmospheric rivers this January and February fed current high water levels.
“I think it’s notable that we could beat the record now,” Kurth said. “We’re really only about half way through the water year.”
Saturday’s year-to-date average sits at 205 percent above normal for this time in the water year, according to Department of Water Resources data. A typical water year in the northern Sierra comes in at an average of 50 inches of precipitation.
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