WeatherMatrix (Jesse Ferrell)

California gets 15 inches of rain and 15 feet of snow!

By Jesse Ferrell
1/13/2017, 9:37:01 PM

Extreme weather hit the West this week, with the heaviest snow and rain in years -- and some flooding that exceeded levels established in 1940. Here are the most impressive snowfalls (via OnTheSnow.com and the ski slope's websites and Facebook pages):

Highest Snow Amounts from California Snow Storm Jan. 3-11


These amounts remind me of (and probably have not been seen since) the January 2008 blockbuster snows in California and 2006 that I blogged about. In 2006, Mammoth Mountain got 95 inches in 30 hours on January 3rd, and had 247" so far that season. In 2008, Kirkwood reported 120 inches of snow in 48 hours.


This January's snows so far have not approached those records (Mammoth is at around 2006's season total of 247 inches now, but it's 10 days later in the month). Mammoth definitely has the possibility of breaking their January snow record -- only two seasons have had over 144 inches in the month -- and we're not even halfway through (see graph below)!

Mammoth Mountain January Snowfall

According to NOAA, the record snowfalls for the state are as follows, but very few of any of them are at ski slopes (because they don't have the personnel and proper measuring equipment):

  • 1 Day: 77 Inches
  • 2 Days: 103 Inches
  • 3 Days: 135 inches

Winds gusted over 100 mph not only in California, but in three states. The highest wind gusts by state:

  • Burns Canyon, CA; 107 mph
  • Mineral, NV: 105 mph
  • Security, CO: 103 mph

In California, a famous 1,000-year-old Sequoia tree called "Pioneer Cabin" toppled during high winds and flooding rain.


In Colorado Springs, CO, winds gusted to 101 mph, felling trees and blowing out windows.


The highest rainfall amounts in California were:

  • Strawberry Valley, CA: 20.7"
  • Alpine Meadows, CA: 15.4"
  • Cisco, CA: 14.07"

The Sacramento River was forecast to exceed all but one historic stage -- the great flood of 1986 (and be only an inch away!) Fortunately, it wound up a few inches lower, making it #4 highest stage of all time... but it was enough to give locals a scare!

Sacramento Final Flood Stage 1/10


The California drought is far from over, but this series of storms made about as big a dent in the weekly report as any ever have.

California Drought Status 1/3 vs. 1/10


The U.S. Drought Manager said "Major drought improvements were made not only to California but at many areas of the West, including parts of Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado."

More heavy rain and snow is already on the way!

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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WeatherMatrix (Jesse Ferrell)