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Thanks to El Niño, California's Snowpack is Looking Good

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When we last checked in on the snowpack in the west, things were looking much better than last year, especially for Lake Tahoe. That trend has continued, with weekly storms that have ski areas opening up early and skiers dancing in their boots. And although the full effects of a strong El Niño likely won't be felt until after the holidays, the strength of this year's El Niño is no longer debated. As Bill Patzert, a a climatologist for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, told the Los Angeles Times, "El Niño is here. And it is huge."

More on El Niño:
What Do You Need to Know About El Niño? These 10 Things.
Was El Niño the Cause of California's Latest Round of Snow?
There's a 90 Percent Chance We're Getting a Strong El Niño
Watch the Enormous El Niño Growing in the Pacific Right Now

Looking at the colorful map above, the best places to ski right now are in blue. Lake Tahoe, Taos, and southwestern Utah have benefitted from the early snow this year, with above average bases as a result. Colorado isn't doing poorly either, especially with a storm on tap today that's expected to bring double digit snow totals. Meanwhile, things are looking a bit rough for the snowpack in Wyoming, Montana, and much of Idaho. But a few good storms could change that.

Here are the more specific state maps:

· National Weather and Climate Center [Official Site]
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