Snowfall values are manually measured at 8am and updated by 9am on days with snowfall.


NOTE: 5%-95% quantiles are represented by the light blue shaded area and 25%-75% quantiles are represented by the dark blue shaded area.

Central Sierra Nevada Snowfall Amounts Ending Today at 5 PM PDT

Data used on this page is continually updated from the National Weather Service's National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC). Loading may take a few moments as a result.

24-Hour Snowfall


48-Hour Snowfall


72-Hour Snowfall


Season Total Snowfall


Data Citation: National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center. 2004. Snow Data Assimilation System (SNODAS) data products at NSIDC. Boulder, CO: National Snow and Ice Data Center. Digital media.


Importance of recent conditions:

Snowfall amount is of the utmost importance when determining water availability, impacts to streamflow, and water management. However, understanding snowpack evolution and snowpack interaction with the atmosphere are equally important as atmospheric conditions greatly affect melt timing, runoff, and potential flooding events from rain-on-snow or other conditions that result in fast melt.

Snowpack conditions and melt are often estimated by examining snowpack energy balance. In short, sources of energy to the snowpack are examined for recent trends and, if more energy is directed towards the snowpack (positive energy flux), melt/evaporation can be expected. Solar and infrared radiation, sensible and latent heat (controlled by air temperature, relative humidity/dewpoint, and wind speeds), ground heat, and heat from precipitation are all important controls on snowpack processes.


NOTE: Limited data exists for the 2019-2020 winter (Water Year 2020). SNOTEL data has been used for maximum snowpack depth and no data exists on total snowfall. We are working to rectify this data shortage as soon as possible.

Recent News Stories About the Lab:

Moonshine Ink: The Saga of the Snow Lab's Data

How does this winter’s snowfall compare to last year, or the last decade, or even the last century? While early November in 2020 brought higher-than-normal snowfall to Donner Summit, the cumulative amount of winter snow as of Jan. 3, 2021 is roughly equal to below the 40-year median... Central Sierra Snow Laboratory

"The rest of the world looks to California to see how it manages its water resources," says snow scientist, Randall Osterhuber. "We've even had scientists from China visit our snow lab to study flood forecasting and stream gauging."

Donner Summit Historical Society: History of Central Sierra Snow Laboratory at Soda Springs, California

The Sierra Nevada snowpack is California’s most valuable natural resource, and not because of the popularity of winter sports. When all that frozen precipitation melts it supplies more than half of the Golden State’s total water supply. The first attempts to study this vital resource got underway right here in the Lake TahoeDonner Summit region...

About Our Research

Research Programs

Our research focuses on understanding the hydrology and meteorology/climatology of physical snowpack processes. We focus on maintaining the manual snowpack measurements that have been occurring at the lab for seven decades and at Donner Summit for 150 years with a particular focus on snowfall and precipitation trends during that time. The lab also takes an active role in the development of new meteorology and hydrology instrumentation and measurement techniques. We are continually testing new technologies and methods for determining snowpack Snow Water Equivalent (SWE), snowfall and precipitation rates with fluid-filled and fluid-less precipitation gauges, and internal snowpack thermodynamic properties.


The UC Berkeley CSSL affords undergraduate and graduate students the unique opportunity to examine and apply principles of meteorological and hydrological processes to conditions in the field. The lab regularly hosts course field trips and student research with a wide range of focuses.

As part of the University of California, the lab strives to stay on the cutting edge of hydrometeorological measurements, instrument design, and data analysis techniques. We are firmly committed to collaborative interdisciplinary research accross the university and are always excited to engage in new research.

Our Collaborative Partners

The lab conducts research with a wide range of collaborative partners and we are always excited to partner with new organizations. We work with organizations from all sectors, including federal and state governments, universities, and private businesses. Some of our past and current collaborators are:

  • Alpine Meadows Ski Area
  • Auburn Ski Club
  • CA Air Resources Board
  • CA Department of Water Resources
  • CalTrans
  • Dartmouth College
  • Desert Research Institute (DRI)
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • NOAA
  • National Weather Service
  • PG & E
  • Sandia National Laboratories
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Sierra Avalanche Center
  • Sierra College
  • Sierra Nevada College
  • Squaw Valley Ski Area
  • Sugar Bowl Ski Area
  • UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara
  • Union Pacific
  • University of Nevada
  • University of Washington
  • US Bureau of Reclamation
  • US Forest Service
  • US Geological Survey
  • USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service

Contact Us

Station Manager

Name: Dr. Andrew J Schwartz

Email: ASchwartz (at)

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 810

Soda Springs, CA 95728

Station Director

Name: Dr. Robert Rhew

Email: rrhew (at)

Links to available lab-published data:

Snowpack, precipitation, and temperature measurements at the Central Sierra Snow Laboratory for water years 1971 to 2019

The snowpack of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is an indispensable freshwater resource for large portions of western North America. The Central Sierra Snow Laboratory (CSSL) has had an intigral role in the measurement of snowfall and snowpack properties within the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and has worked to develop a physical understanding of the processes that govern snow since 1946. This dataset contains measurements of temperature, precipiation quantity, snowfall, and snowpack characteristics including 24-hour snowfall, snowpack depth, and snow water equivalent for each water year (October 1 to September 30) from 1971 to 2019 at CSSL. Measurements were made at the same location at CSSL for the entirety of the 48 year measurement period to ensure continuity of record with minimal effects from difference in measurement location.