Stormy weather continued in the northwest US on Monday, with nearly a meter of snow falling within 24 hours on some peaks in California, which recorded the highest snowfall in December.
492 cm of snow fell on Monday already in the central Sierra Nevada, compared to 455 cm during December 1970, the state’s previous record, a specialist laboratory at the University of Berkeley told AFP.
Screenshot / CNN
“We weren’t expecting such a rainy winter,” said Dr. Andrew Schwartz, head of this laboratory. “Finally we have a lot more snow than expected this year, which is of course a very good surprise,” he said.
According to Dr. Schwartz, an additional 20 to 30 cm of snow is expected over the next 24 hours.
Screenshot / CNN
The western United States suffers from chronic droughts, and in recent years has faced massive and sometimes fatal wildfires, particularly in Northern California.
Thus, the recent snowfall on the peaks, which forms a water reserve for the hot months, is welcome. Andrew Schwartz said it’s still too early to say if the bad weather will actually improve the situation.
On Monday, snow cover across the Sierra Nevada was 50% above its average level for this time of year. But it was barely half the average on April 1, the date generally considered the season’s highest snowfall in the California mountains.
And the neighboring states of Oregon and Washington were not spared the bad weather, which caused blackouts and disruption of transportation.
In Seattle, for example, the snowfall has caused about 300 flight cancellations and delays for another 350.
While the West Coast of the United States saw temperatures well below seasonal standards, unusual heat prevailed over Texas in the south of the country. On Saturday, the temperature reached 34 degrees Celsius in the village of Rio Grande near the Mexican border, a national record for the heat on Christmas Day.
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