The Department of Water Resources (DWR) will host the news media on February 2 for the second manual snow survey at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada. Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program, will begin the survey at 11 a.m. just off Highway 50 near Sierra-at-Tahoe Road about 90 miles east of Sacramento. The survey will determine the water content of the snow at Phillips.As it stands now, California's statewide snowpack is nearly double what it usually is this time of year and is even above the April 1 average, which is considered its peak. But it's too soon for the precipitation to stop, which is why we hope the forecast of rain for next week comes to fruition.
The first months of Water Year 2017 (October 1 to today) have been exceptionally wet in California due to atmospheric river storms and rainfall from lesser storms that drenched the state. All three regions DWR monitors continuously for rainfall had recorded more by January 23 than their annual averages for the entire water year, which runs from October 1 through September 30.
The Phillips snow course has been measured each winter since 1941 and is one of hundreds that will be traversed during a 10-day period around February 1 to determine the water content of the snowpack, which normally contributes about 30 percent of California’s water when it melts. Manual readings supplement DWR’s electronic data.
For results of the manual snow survey, check here and at CapitalPress.com.