California's chain of storms continue, replenishing reservoirs

While intense snow and rain can be a serious challenge, the silver lining is the color of abundant clear, clean water.

Snowpack-wise, the UC Central Sierra Snow Lab reports California is now at 88% of the historical amount of Sierra rain and snow for this date. But, the water content in the snowpack is only 57%.

The reservoirs are in far better shape with a lot more rain coming provided that it keeps coming. 

"It's great to see this stream of storms because even to get up to average condition, we need four or five big storms during our winter wet season," said UC Merced Water professor Roger Bales.

As of Thursday, California's big "mega reservoirs" are 76% full. That is 115% of what is usually in them on this date.

Statewide on average, California's more than 154 reservoirs are at a healthy 118% water. That's enough water to cover every square inch inside the state with three inches of water. However, we would need to double that to fill all the reservoirs. 

"We're a lot better off this year because we didn't have a dry condition last year," said Bales.

Underground storage in aquifers remains deficient because we've been overdrawn for decades. Big money needs to be invested in land acquisition, allowing flood plains to flood, and building injection wells to replenish the critical underground source. 

"The right investments from the work we've done show it's at least ten times the cost," said Bales.

Ski-wise, this holiday ski weekend looks to offer another wowzer. 

"We got a foot of snow overnight and it's still snowing right now and there's more storm on the way. This snow right now is really light and fluffy and most of our mountain has really great coverage," said Palisades Tahoe spokesperson Maddy Condon.

But, with that string of storms coming, drive only when it's likely not to be when Caltrans is fighting snow dumps. It's gonna be a really great ski week. I just really stress checking with the road conditions with Caltrans," said Condon.

Caltrans is expecting such fights. 

"Making sure we're laying down the sand to increase traction. We try to get the salt down when we're battling it to break up any ice that's gonna be forming," said Caltrans spokesperson Jeremy Linder.

One man caught up in the last storm said this: "Stay at home if you can. That's what we would have done if we turned back the clock."

Palisades Tahoe says ski season could last into May.