Storms aid Sierra snowpack | SierraSun.com

Storms aid Sierra snowpack

Staff reports
Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra Sun
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Late season storms are adding a cushion to the Sierra snowpack that experts say is good news for this year’s water supplies and could signal a break in a five-year drought.

More than a foot of snow fell Sunday night and into Monday in the Sierra Nevada.

Another weather system was adding more snow to the Lake Tahoe region Tuesday.

“Right now we’re sitting at well above average,” said Dan Greenlee, a hydrologist with the U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service. “We’re doing a lot better than we were last year.”

At the Central Sierra Snow Lab on Donner Summit, Manager Randall Osterhuber took measurements, Tuesday, that quantified the above average snowpack.

“We have about 42 inches more snow on the ground than we did this time last year,” said Osterhuber.

On Monday, the snowpack in the Truckee River Basin measured 125 percent of normal for the date, with the Lake Tahoe Basin snowpack at 137 percent.

The snowpack in the Carson River Basin was 141 percent, according to the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

On the same date last year, the snowpack was 85 percent of normal in the Truckee and Carson basins, and only 81 percent in the Tahoe area.

Before the first of a pair of powerful snowstorms hit the region the weekend of March 19, Greenlee said he was concerned there would be a repeat of last year, when a particularly warm spring quickly melted the snowpack that provides the Reno-area’s water supply.

But since Sunday, up to 2 feet of snow fell at the higher elevations of Lake Tahoe ski resorts.

The strong snowpack has Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley aiming to stay open until the end of May.

A warmer, drier system is expected to move into the region later this week.

“We’re going to get into a brief little warming trend for the next couple days,” said Chris Jordan, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Reno.

Temperatures are expected to climb into the mid-50s on Friday and Saturday, said Jordan.

The next chance of precipitation will come on Sunday, said Jordan, in a pattern that continues to leave the door open to storms.

“It seems it will stay somewhat active for the next few days,” said Jordan.

” The Associated Press contributed to this article