Snowpack well below average

While the recent storms brought an abundance of fresh snow to the sierra, don’t expect Mother Nature’s generosity to instantly raise the level of Folsom Lake and other area reservoirs. On Monday, March 5, officials from the Department of Water Resources revealed that totals are still well below average.

Monday’s snow survey at Phillips Station reflected a dramatic change from February’s totals. However, the snow water equivalent (SWE) was 9.4 inches, which translates into the simple fact that our snowpack is a mere 39 percent of average for early March.

“California has unquestionably experienced a dry winter this year, with a near-record dry February,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “While we’re happy to kick off March with this healthy storm, the variability of this winter’s weather patterns underscores the importance of continued conservation and the ongoing need to strengthen California’s water supply reliability for our people, our economy, and our environment.”

The snow survey conducted Monday by Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program, was the second measurement at Phillips Station for this snow survey period. On Feb. 28, the snow survey found a SWE of 1.7 inches, just 7 percent of average for that time of year as recorded since 1964. Given the forecasted storm, officials conducted a second measurement on March 5 to record its impact, which yielded a 32 percentage-point increase in SWE over the previous week.

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