Chains are mandatory on Interstate-80 in the Sierra today. Bad news for drivers -good news for the snowpack. It´s more of what some at the National Weather Service are calling “awesome April” – a chance to rebuild the summertime water storage after three dry winters and the threat of a fourth.
By tonight, more than a foot of fresh snow is possible above seven-thousand feet, with another storm expected that could bring snow to valley floors tomorrow and Saturday. That would add to a snowpack that already is above average in places after a series of late-season storms.
Before this storm hit, the snowpack in the Truckee River Basin was measured at 107 percent of average for the date, up from 83 percent on April first. The Lake Tahoe Basins snowpack was measured at 90 percent, up from 57 percent at the start of the month. The Carson River snowpack is at 108 percent, up from 80 percent.
April rarely is an important month for producing snow in the Sierra, but this year is different. At Glenbrook on Lake Tahoe´s East Shore, 27 inches of snow had fallen between April first and yesterday, producing almost three and one-half inches of water. That´s 394 percent of average.