Winter storm a massive boost for Sierra snowpack
One storm does not make a “Miracle March” but what an impact the last few days have had on the Sierra snowpack.
Continuous snow at Lake Tahoe since Saturday morning has added 13% to the snowpack, according to Jeff Anderson, water supply specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Nevada.
“To gain back that amount this time of year is really hard,” Anderson told the Tribune.
The snowpack started the weekend at 43% at the Mount Rose Snotel site and was at 56% to end the weekend, not counting the several inches up to a foot of snow that fell on Monday.
Monday’s snow will likely add a couple more percentage points.
The snow water content from the latest storm is 3.3 inches through Sunday, about three times the average gain for the month which is 1.2 inches. The typical gain for January and February is six inches.
Before this storm, the snowline was creeping up the mountains at Lake Tahoe at a fast pace.
“The snowpack was melting rapidly, even at the higher levels,” Anderson said. “This storm has really pushed that back for awhile.”
While the snowpack is in much better standing than it was a few days ago, it’s still a long ways from a miracle, like 2018.
Two years ago, the Tahoe snowpack was at 35% entering March and increased a whopping 44%, up to 79%. That year, March received 11 inches of snow water content.
That year there were a few storms like the one passing through that completely buried Lake Tahoe for three straight weeks.
The snow is expected to continue through Monday night into Tuesday and the weather pattern remains unsettled for the rest of the week with snow showers expected.
Bill Rozak is the editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication to the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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