LOS ANGELES (AP) – A cold system of low pressure swirling off the California coast sent bands of rain and snow across the state on Wednesday, making travel difficult and adding to an epic mountain snowpack.
Forecasters said the storm was not as strong as the ones that hit the state all winter, but chains were required for vehicles on highways through the Sierra Nevada. A portion of US 395 on the eastern side of the range was closed due to snow.
Mammoth Mountain ski resort in the eastern Sierra announced its snowiest season ever at 695 inches (17.6 m) and 870 inches (22.1 m) at its main lodge after 28 inches (70 cm) of snow fell since Tuesday afternoon. The summit of the 11,053-foot (3,369-metre) summit.
“It’s pretty darn deep out there,” the resort wrote on its website.
The storm’s effects were more modest in Southern California, where little precipitation was expected during the day. But forecasters warned there could be a spate of thunderstorms in the evening as a very cold low pressure system moved down the coast.
California was in a three-year drought, with dwindling reservoirs and parched landscapes, until an unexpected series of powerful storms began in late December and continued into the spring. The storms have also raised reservoir levels and created an extraordinary Sierra snowpack, a vital source of California’s water, forcing dozens of counties to declare a state of emergency due to widespread damage.
As of Tuesday, the amount of water in the snowpack was 228% of its April 1 average, a benchmark for its historic peak, according to the state Department of Water Resources.
Additional precipitation is expected in the north of California through Saturday and into the south through Monday. Forecasters said the system would weaken from the current storm.
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