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Little improvement to snowpack from last week’s storms

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State natural resources officials this week said the recent snowstorms that hit the Sierra and Carson ranges were enough to make skiers happy but didn’t do much for the region’s snowpack. January and February were among the driest they’ve seen, they added.

Natural Resources Conservation Service hydrologist Jeff Anderson and Truckee and Carson rivers Water Master Chad Blanchard on Monday visited the Mt. Rose Ski Area for their monthly SNOTEL snowpack measurement.

During the check, Anderson measured the snow depth at 76 inches with 27.6 inches of water content—about 86% of median for this time of year. That’s a drop from Jan. 1 when the snowpack was measuring 200% of normal.

“Snowfall in January and February didn’t keep pace with normal amounts, so percentages have fallen,” officials said in a statement.

Over the past two months most SNOTEL sites along the eastern Sierra have only had one inch or less of precipitation. The average is about 12 inches.

All is not lost, however, from last fall’s heavy rains and December’s snowfall. Soils underneath the snow are wetter than normal, improving stream flows throughout the winter and making way for more of the snowpack to run off into streams and rivers, rather than soak into the soil.

Source: NCRS

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