drying up

The Sierra snowpack used to stretch down to the Owens Valley floor a few weeks ago but a dry January has allowed some of the snow to melt, pushing the snowpack line higher up into the mountains and there has been no new snow to rebuild the snowpack.

A prolonged dry spell is beginning to cut into the snowpack gains made during the epic set of storms in December, with a three-week spate of dry weather showing no signs of coming to an end anytime soon.

That means that even though the big December storms brought the snowpack to about half of what it should be for the entire winter, each dry day eats away at the snowpack and makes it harder to make up the other half before the winter ends.

According to Mammoth forecaster Howard Sheckter, there is no clear sign for any storms in the next few weeks either; in fact a series of models that had looked promising earlier this week have now "dried up," he said, with no precipitation  likely until at least sometime into February.

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