East slope Sierra snowpack shrivels | SierraSun.com

East slope Sierra snowpack shrivels

RENO, Nev. ” Winter has not been kind to the Sierra Nevada, where the latest snow survey on the east slope reveals a dismal snowpack.

“It’s pretty bleak up there, pretty skimpy,” Dan Greenlee, a hydrologist with the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, said Monday after measuring the snowpack at the Mount Rose site.

“They’re not good numbers. We’re about two-thirds of where we should be.”

At Mount Rose southwest of Reno, the snow was 3 1/2 feet deep, only 53 percent of average. That’s down from 67 percent in January.

The percentage wasn’t as bad as 2007, when it was 31 percent of normal at the beginning of February, he said.

On the same day last year, the snowpack at Mount Rose was 89 percent of normal and 162 percent of normal in 2006, Greenlee said.

With winter only half over, experts say there’s still time for storms to pad the snowpack and bring much needed water.

But in a typical year, December through February brings the most snow.

“We need some big, wet, heavy storms to catch up,” Greenlee said.

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