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Snow Survey: Snowpack Looking Good but Drought Persists


Image courtesy of the NRCS.

This season’s snow depth was measured by government officials today at Mt. Rose. The snow depth is slightly above average at 54 inches, or 110 percent of the median. Last year at this time it was at 60 percent of the median.

While that’s a positive in relation to the past four years of snow accumulations, western Nevada is still considered to be in a severe or extreme drought, according to the national drought monitor.

A significant amount of snow would have to measured this season to put a noted dent in the region’s water supplies, according to Heather Emmons with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Today’s data were gathered by the NRCS at its Mt. Rose SNOTEL station. NRCS operates an extensive, automated network of SNOTEL weather stations to collect snowpack and related climatic data in the Western United States.

According to NRCS, “The system evolved from NRCS’s Congressional mandate in the mid-1930’s ‘to measure snowpack in the mountains of the West and forecast the water supply.’ The program began with manual measurements of snow courses. Data are reported by radio each hour and available on the internet. The high-elevation locations and the broad coverage of the network provide important data used by water managers, farmers, recreationists, researchers and emergency managers for natural disasters such as floods and droughts.”

More Data

Statistics courtesy of NRCS:

  • Snow depth at Mt. Rose today: 54 inches
  • Water content: 15.9 inches
  • This is 110% of the median
  • Last year on this day, we were at 8.5 inches of water content; 60% of median

In the river basins:

  • Truckee is 107% of median
  • Lake Tahoe is 142% of median
  • Carson is 137% of median
  • Walker is 122% of median
  • Snowpack as of today is better than 2015 peak amount in all basins
Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.