Snowpack Is Better Than Normal Statewide | KUNR

Snowpack Is Better Than Normal Statewide

Jan 5, 2016

Hydrologists use snow tubes to measure the snowpack at a SNOTEL, snow telemetry, site.
Credit Natural Resources Conservation Service

Snowpack measurements across the Eastern Sierra and Northern Nevada are coming in higher than normal. For the latest snowpack update, let's check in with Reno Public Radio's Michelle Billman.

As a hydrologist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Jeff Anderson oversees about 100 snow telemetry sites, also called SNOTEL stations. He visited one on Mt. Rose Monday where he measured 54 inches of snow, containing almost 16 inches of water content.

Anderson says that's about 110% of normal, "and that is quite a bit more than what we saw last year when it was 60% of normal."

That particular site is in the Truckee River Basin. The Walker, Carson, and Lake Tahoe Basins are doing even better, but the best outcomes so far are actually in other areas of the state.

"Looking out in the upper Humboldt, you know, in the Ruby Mountain area and the area around Elko, they're up at 175% of normal," Anderson explains. "Eastern Nevada's at about 153%, so, really, across the state, we're doing really well for this time of year."

Despite so much improvement over last year, Anderson says it's very unlikely that the impacts of drought could be reversed by just one season's bolstered snowpack.