Snowfall is lacking in the Sierra Nevada mountains Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the western United States.
Each spring and summer, snow melts in the mountains and flows down into the river valleys. The water is needed to fill reservoirs with sufficient water for the typically dry months of summer and autumn.
According to the California Department of Water Resources (CalWater), about three-quarters of the state’s precipitation in a year falls as snow and rain in Northern and Central California.
The Sierra Nevada snowpack accounts for about 30 percent of California’s water supply in a typical year. However, for the second year in a row, winter snowfall is below average in this region. California is a state in the Western United States. It is bordered by Nevada to the east, Arizona to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, Oregon to the north, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south. With over 39.5 million residents across a total area of approximately 163,696 square miles (423,970 km ), it is the most populous and the third-largest U.S. state by area. It is also the most populated subnational entity in North America and the 34th most populous in the world.
CalWater reported on April 1, 2021 that the mountains had received just 59 percent of their average yearly snow, while rainfall at lower elevations was just below half the average.
The image was captured on March 31, 2021 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory