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California Trails

State Snowpack at Just 30 Percent of Normal

Near-record low snow accumulations stem from both less rain and warmer temperatures.

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After last winter’s big snow totals, this winter has returned drought to California, with state snowpack coming in as 30 percent of normal. Experts point to both less precipitation and warmer temperatures. Ten years ago, slopes in the Sierra were typically snow-covered starting around 5,500 feet; this year, only 10,000-foot-plus elevations see that kind of accumulation.