The Department of Water Resources (DWR) will host the news media on March 1 for this winter’s third 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.Our coverage of the season's first two surveys is here and here. For details on Wednesday's survey, check here and at CapitalPress.com.
Water Year 2017, which runs from October 1 to September 30, is on track to be the wettest in DWR’s records. The statewide snowpack’s water content in data collected electronically currently is 188 percent of normal for today’s date. All three regions DWR monitors continuously for rainfall have had more than twice their average rainfall this year.
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 March 1 to determine the water content of the snowpack, which normally contributes about 30 percent of California’s water. Manual readings supplement DWR’s electronic data.