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Powder aplenty: See how Sierra mountains looked before and after California’s storm

·1 min read

The storm that dumped record-setting rainfall across Northern California earlier this week also dumped plentiful snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

In four days, the atmospheric rain and bomb cyclone helped drop between 2 and 4 feet at elevations above 7,000 feet, with between 1 and 2 feet falling in the Lake Tahoe Basin, according to the National Weather Service’s Reno office.

But words don’t really do it justice.

Here’s what California looked like Oct. 16, as captured by MODIS satellites from NASA:

Northern California is seen Oct. 16, 2021, in a MODIS Corrected Reflectance satellite composite image produced by NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System. A before-and-after view of the imagery shows the striking change to the Sierra Nevada following a historic storm that swept across Northern California over the week.
Northern California is seen Oct. 16, 2021, in a MODIS Corrected Reflectance satellite composite image produced by NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System. A before-and-after view of the imagery shows the striking change to the Sierra Nevada following a historic storm that swept across Northern California over the week.

And here’s what it looked like Wednesday:

Northern California is seen Oct. 27, 2021, in a MODIS Corrected Reflectance satellite composite image produced by NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System. A before-and-after view of the imagery shows the striking change to the Sierra Nevada following a historic storm that swept across Northern California over the week.
Northern California is seen Oct. 27, 2021, in a MODIS Corrected Reflectance satellite composite image produced by NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System. A before-and-after view of the imagery shows the striking change to the Sierra Nevada following a historic storm that swept across Northern California over the week.

Helping the contrast, the fresh powder came just several weeks after the end of California’s hottest summer ever recorded, as well as a warm, dry spring, both of which evaporated a large majority of the Sierra snowpack.

But it snowed enough from Saturday through Tuesday that it prompted one ski resort, Palisades Tahoe, to start its snow season weeks early — this coming Friday, in fact.

Historic October rain and snow are a good start to the water year, but it will take more storms to put an end to the state’s drought, experts say.

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