Despite stormy March, snowpack still below average
Special to the Sierra Sun
LAKE TAHOE — Despite storms in March, the snowpack is below average but things aren’t dire.
At the Mt. Rose SNOTEL site Thursday, Natural Resources Conservation Service hydrologist Jeff Anderson saw a 22% increase in the Sierra Nevada snowpack.
“The gains we did get in March were pretty significant,” Anderson said.
Still, the snowpack is 72% of the median for the Tahoe Basin.
“We would need to see as much snow in April as we did in March [to get to average] but its pretty unlikely,” Anderson said.
Despite below average numbers, because of the big storms last year, the basin doesn’t need to worry about drought quite yet.
“The fact that Lake Tahoe filled last year ensures a three-year supply,” Anderson said. “We won’t be far from full this year either.”
The California Department of Water Resources measured the snowpack Wednesday being 66% of average at Phillips Station, near Sierra-at-Tahoe.
“While today’s survey results show our snowpack is better off than it was just last month, they still underscore the need for widespread, wise use of our water supplies,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth in a press release. “California’s climate continues to show extreme unpredictability, and February’s record dryness is a clear example of the extremes associated with climate change.”
In one year, California has gone from having the fifth best recorded snowpack to one of the 10 worst.
“Over the last decade, California’s snowpack has been alternating between extremely wet and extremely dry,” stated Sean de Guzman, chief of DWR’s Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecast Section. “In the past 10 years, we’ve seen three of our smallest snowpacks on record, but we’ve also seen three of our largest snowpacks on record.”
There are a few storms on the horizon for April that will help a bit.
Laney Griffo is a reporter with the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication to the Sierra Sun.
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