From The Merced Sun-Star – The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains has reached record-breaking levels thanks to the deluge of snow smashing California this week. According to data from the California Department of Water Resources (CDWR), the Southern Sierras-from San Joaquin and Mono counties to Kern county-currently have a snowpack 257 percent greater than the average for this time of year, and 247 percent larger than is average for the usual snowpack peak on April 1. Central Sierra and Northern Sierra also have hugely inflated snowpacks, at 218 percent and 168 percent of the average for early March, respectively. TOP VIDEOS Top Videos 01:20 01:30 Merced courthouse named after legal scholar and civil rights attorney The Sierra Nevada Mountains stretch around 400 miles from Northern California southwards to the Great Basin. They have been buffeted by snowstorms as a result of the atmospheric river systems plowing eastwards from the Pacific Ocean, leaving thousands of people without power. “As of this weekend, the Southern Sierra now appears to have largest snowpack in recorded history (as measured by snow water equivalent, or SWE). Not just for the calendar date, but for *any* date!” tweeted Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA and the Nature Conservancy. (more)