The Sierra Nevada is really living up to its name “snowy mountain range” this year . With snow reports coming in feet & snow storms still moving in, it’s now home to the snowiest ski resort in the U.S. Our @NASAEarth satellites captured its 2019 look: https://t.co/OKycnJWwI0 pic.twitter.com/zKqPOQvCa3— NASA (@NASA) February 14, 2019
After several years of drought and low snow levels throughout the state, California’s Sierra Nevada have finally made a triumphant return to winter. Let’s look at the numbers. According to NASA, Mammoth Mountain received 11 feet of snow in February, and has reported upwards of 37 feet so far this season. Currently, their snow water equivalent sits at 146 percent of normal, compared to 21 percent of normal this time last year. That's a LOT of snow.
Big storms have been walloping the Sierra since January, courtesy of our favorite weather term – atmospheric rivers. That’s when massive amounts of moisture are pumped from the Pacific on to land through narrow low-level plumes that bury mountain towns and ski areas across the West. Great news for skiers and snowboarders, but the far-reaching consequences are equally beneficial to anyone who relies on a steady water supply.
Nasa’s report sums it up: “The condition of Sierra Nevada snowpack has consequences that go well beyond ski season. Spring and summer melt from the Sierra Nevada plays a crucial role in recharging California’s reservoirs. Though conditions could change, California drought watchers are cautiously optimistic that the boost to the snowpack will insulate the state from drought this summer.”
On February 28th, 2019, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's backcountry gates were closed. Several feet of snow had fallen over the past few days, and avalanche danger was "High" at all elevations. In conjunction with the Park Service and Teton County Search and Rescue, JHMR briefly prohibited backcountry access via resort exit points. That afternoon, a group of four ducked a rope off the Teton lift in search of fresh tracks in Granite Canyon. Two of the skiers successfully exited the
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