Record snowfall here in the west that’s closed roads and delayed flights also brought some good news for California and its long-term drought. State officials note that California’s snowpack is now well above normal in the mountains.

Snowpack in some parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range is more than 200% above the average at this time of year. California’s Department of Water Resources says the statewide snowpack is 160% above normal. The Sierra Nevada supplies almost a third of the state’s water needs once the snow runs down into reservoirs and aqueducts.

“We couldn’t have had a better December in terms of snow and rain in the Sierra,” says Karla Nemeth, director of the DWR. Despite the December snowfall, the DWR warns against complacency.

The state still needs significant precipitation in January and February to make up for the two previous winters, the fifth and second-driest on record.

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