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Skiing in June? Maybe, because the Sierras have 50 feet of snow

The Central Sierra have been buried under 54 feet of snow so far. | Mario Tama/Getty Images

Ski resorts like Palisades Tahoe have already extended their season through Memorial Day weekend, and after this latest round of storms, it’s quite likely that people will be hitting the slopes in June. With 651 inches of snow as of Monday, the winter of 2022-23 is already the third-snowiest since records began in 1946.

It may soon be the second-snowiest, according to UC Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Lab. After gaining another 13 inches over the past 24 hours, another 18 to 30 inches is expected to fall before the forecast shifts to rain. If the research station—which is 6,894 feet in elevation—records 21 more inches, that will officially nudge this year past the most recent snowy winter, back in 1982-83.

Measured another way, 651 inches is more than 54 feet of snow. Accumulations of that size have led to surreal photography of some fearsome-looking drifts.

The eastern Sierra Nevada currently holds 243% of its regular snowpack for this time of year. | Mario Tama/Getty Images

The all-time record of the postwar era, an astonishing 812 inches, was set back in 1952, before resorts like Heavenly or Alpine Meadows even existed.

Intense snowfall in other parts of California has had catastrophic effects for residents of some mountain towns. Crestline, north of San Bernardino, was effectively cut off from the world for two weeks, leading to 13 deaths.

Downtown San Francisco remains as snowless as ever, but yesterday’s intermittent drizzle pushed the total rainfall to 28.1 inches for the water year, some 166% of normal for the date.