Snowpack improves, but not by much

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Snowpack improves, but not by much

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Recent snowfall has bolstered the snowpack in the Tahoe Basin and Truckee Meadows, but much more is needed to cover the growing deficit.

Recent snowfall has bolstered the snowpack in the Tahoe Basin and Truckee Meadows, but much more is needed to cover the growing deficit. KUNR's Will Stone tagged along when the Natural Resources Conservation Services took a measurement on Friday.

Several snowboarders fly by on a backroad near the summit of Mount Rose. The powder is good, even if the coverage is not.

"There are rocks!"

Nearby is Beau Uriona, who's a scientist with the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Services. He plunges a long metal pole, known as a snow tube, into the fresh snow.

Afterwards, he crunches the numbers.

Uriona says the recent snowfall brought the snowpack in the Tahoe Basin up to about 20 percent of average.

"We need roughly 250 percent of average from here on out to reach an average amount, which will only fill up the reservoirs slightly given that the carry over from last year was so low."

That's a tall order, considering January and February are the two biggest months for precipitation. Uriona does point out that in 2011, 25 percent of the snowpack came in March. Last week's storm brought upwards of 2 feet in some of the higher elevations.

The Carson Basin has the highest snowpack at around 32 percent of average. The Walker Basin registers about 26 percent of average.