Friday, February 15, 2013

Snow level drops below average at Scott River

The lack of rainfall appears to be starting to take its toll on the snowpack, as snow levels have dropped below average in the Scott River Watershed.

From the California Department of Water Resources:
The February 1st snow survey results for five snow courses in the Scott River Watershed have been measured and compared to data from previous years. These measurements are part of the statewide California Cooperative Snow Survey program, which is operated by the California Department of Water Resources.

The survey shows that the snow depth and water content are below average at 82% of normal compared to historical values for February (see Table 1). Low precipitation has contributed to the current snowpack conditions. However, many months of winter remain, with most locations usually reaching their annual maximum by late March or early April.

The snow surveys are measured monthly during the winter and spring months (February - May). Employees from the Salmon and Scott River Ranger District travel to pre-determined sites to collect information about snow accumulation in the mountains west of Scott Valley, located in the Klamath National Forest. The measuring sites are established locations used to quantify snow depth and water content. Access to these snow sites vary; some are located closer to forest roads while others require hours of travel by snow shoes or snowmobile.

The snow depth and water content are measured and calculated with a specially designed and calibrated aluminum tube. The depth of snow is recorded, and the water equivalent of the snow core is derived by weighing the snow sample. This information is used to help the State of California forecast the amount of water available for agriculture, power generation, recreation, and stream flow releases later in the year.

For more information, go to the California Department of Water Resources Website: http://cdec.water.ca.gov/snow or contact Verna Yin on the Salmon and Scott River Ranger District at (530) 468-1241.
Watch for my story about how rangelands and crops are doing around the state at CapitalPress.com next week.

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