Despite hopes that El Niño conditions would erase the impact of four years drought in California, the Sierra snowpack fell short of normal for April 1st. Even though this winter’s storm track targeted the northern Sierra Nevada, the region still measured only 97% of normal, while the southern Sierra measured only 72% of normal water content.
If rainfall amounts on the ranch are indicative of the southern Sierra Nevada foothills, we are currently above average for the season with the month of April yet to contribute, 18-20 inches thus far as opposed to our 14-15 inch average. However, the San Joaquin Valley floor didn’t fare as well, the town of Hanford still an inch below normal. Typically this year’s northern storm track stacked against the Sierras, bleeding south with rain, but missed much of the Valley floor.
Here on the ranch, it’s been a great grass year where most springs and stockwater resources have recovered. The south and west slopes have already turned as spring temperatures have been running well-above average. Still green in the flats and on the north slopes, we’ll be weaning some fat calves in 30 days.