Author: Nicole

The drought is coming to an end

The drought is coming to an end

Southern California mountains see season’s first snow, with another storm forecast for next week

By Jennifer Slinn

(CNN) — At the end of February, it would all seem like a dream come true for skiers, mountain bikers and hikers in Southern California: a month of sunny days, crisp cold air, a steady snowpack and a record-setting snowfall.

But instead, that winter is becoming a lot like the weather that preceded it: an unwelcome reminder of the reality of climate change.

The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is at its lowest in a decade, with record-breaking drought conditions that have destroyed billions of tree stumps and triggered a devastating wildfire season, according to the state Department of Forestry and Recreation.

The last time there was a statewide snowpack of this size in February was in 2006, when a record 9.2 inches fell — though the state hasn’t gone through this dry spell since.

And more rain and snowfall is forecast; winter through April 3, NOAA forecasters forecast. By then, experts say, the snowpack will be at record-low levels — which means that next year’s water supplies are even more stressed than the year before, and have already suffered worse damage from a drought that’s lasted nine years.

Some in Southern California hope that snow is merely the first of many changes to come.

“I hope not,” said Brian Tietjens, a state climatologist with NOAA.

“This drought is going to be one of the worst droughts we’ve ever seen, and it’s going to keep on increasing,” he told CNN.

In just over a week, he said, the state is likely to see its snowpack rebound, which would mean the worst drought in records dating to the early 1900s would “likely be behind us by now.”

However, the state forecasters predict rain and then snow for April 3, the day before what could be the last of the snow melts. The forecasters still expect the drought to worsen to another category.

Experts say the drought

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