'What a difference a year makes!' Sierra snowpack glaringly sparse compared to year ago

With no rain all month, February is on track to be one of the driest on record so far in the region, and newly released side by side satellite images show just how dire the snowpack level is in the Sierra Nevada. 

"What a difference a year makes!" the National Weather Service (NWS) commented, in a tweet Monday night. The caption was accompanied by a NASA satellite image from Feb. 18 2019, when much of the region was blanketed with snow. Next to that picture was the same satellite vantage point but a year later. Only a thin strip of white is seen in the current image.

(National Weather Service Sacramento)

"Sierra snow pack is below normal for this time of year, at about 58% statewide," the NWS said in the tweet, adding, "Dry weather is expected to continue."

Last week, the U.S. Drought Monitor announced that the season's dry weather has sent parts of California back into drought status. Last March, the state was declared drought-free after almost seven years of extremely dry conditions. 

In its weekly report, the Drought Monitor designated 9.5% of the state as currently experiencing moderate drought. Those regions included the central and southern Sierra Nevada and adjacent areas of the Central Valley. 

The assessment also expanded the state's “abnormally dry” regions to include San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and parts of northeastern California.

A week earlier, the "abnormally dry" status applied to the Central Valley and a wide swath covering much of the Bay Area all the way to the Sierra, as well as parts of the California-Oregon border.

Despite the dry weather, there was some positive news on the status of California's water supply. State water authorities reported that reservoirs are either at or above historical averages due to a wet 2019.

The Associated Press contributed to this story, which was reported from Oakland, Calif.