February snow keeps piling up | SierraSun.com
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February snow keeps piling up

CHRISTINA HARVEY and SHERRY MAYS

Starting to get tired of running your snowblower after the seemingly continuous storm in February?

It’s probably no surprise, then, that this is the heaviest February for precipitation on record, according to Russ Johnson of the Squaw Valley Ski Patrol.

“The previous record of February precipitation was 160 inches, set in 1975,” Johnson said.

This February’s snow accumulation has already reached 195 inches. Sixty-one inches of snow have fallen since Feb. 16.

“The biggest winter on record was the winter of 1994-95, and we’re not ahead of those figures,” Johnson said. “But that was a dry February.”

Hydrologist Randall Osterhuber said the Sierra Snow Lab at the top of Donner Summit near Soda Springs recorded 155 inches of snow on the ground at the 6,900-foot level.

Leading into the month, Truckee had already experienced 58 inches of snow and 8.6 inches of rain during January, according to figures from the U.S. Forest Service Truckee Ranger District.

Records kept at the Donner Memorial State Park show snow totals up through Jan. 31 at 84.85 inches, with 20.74 inches of precipitation.

To date in February, the state park has recorded 94.8 inches of snow and 11.8 inches of precipitation.

According to Truckee’s Public Works Director Tom Covey, by averaging the snow depths at various sites around town, Truckee has received 8 feet of snow through February.

Here’s how the snow is stacking up:

— Based upon the figure of 20 pounds per cubic feet of snow, the town streets have accumulated 12,165.2 tons per mile. The town plows have moved a total of 1,703,116.8 tons.

— If the 4,818,488 cubic yards were all moved to the high school soccer field, it would create a pile 800 feet deep.

Covey said for the past 24 days, the town’s plow drivers have been working 12 hours on and 12 hours off.

Dave Hart of the California Department of Water Resources said the snowpack in the northern Sierra now stands at 190 percent of average for the date, with a total of more than 20 inches of precipitation – surpassing April averages.

Skiers and snowboarders are taking advantage of the abundance of snow, while water sportsmen are gearing up for a long summer season of kayaking, rafting and fishing.

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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