[env-trinity] Trinity snowpack 23 percent of average
tstokely at att.net
Wed Apr 11 08:22:27 PDT 2018
Trinity snowpack 23 percent of average
- By AMY GITTELSOHN The Trinity Journal
The snowpack in the high country of Trinity County is even skimpier than the state’s unimpressive measurements.Although there was a bit of a rally with March storms, snow surveyors reported finding inches where there should be feet at some locations.The April 1 snow survey showed the snowpack that feeds the Trinity River Basin to be at only 23 percent of average. Statewide, the California Department of Water Resources reported the snow to be at 58 percent of average.Surveyors use snowmobiles to get to the sites outside the designated wilderness area. From the U.S. Forest Service, Mike McFadin described “not enough snow to make the snow machine work the way it was supposed to.”And, he snow was melting. “We got sunburns,” McFadin said.At the Big Flat survey site in north Trinity County, surveyors measured 9 inches of snow with 2 inches of water content whereas average for this time of year is several feet in depth with a foot of water content.At the higher elevations the measurements were more in the range of 12 to 18 inches, McFadin said, but “it should have been 6 or 8 feet deep to be an average year.”At locations in the Trinity Alps Wilderness, Josh Smith of the Watershed Research and Trinity Center had a similar report.“My perception is that it isn’t even close to historical averages and it’s melting fast,” Smith said.Comparisons posted on the DWR website confirm that.At the Deadfall Lakes in north Trinity County at 7,200 feet, on March 31 surveyors measured 28.5 inches of snow with 11 inches of water content. This is 33 percent of the historic average.At Red Rock Mountain at 6,700 feet in the Trinity Alps Wilderness on March 31, there were 33 inches of snow with water content of 13 inches, 31 percent of the historic average.At Bear Basin at 6,500 feet in the Trinity Alps Wilderness on March 30, there were 21.5 inches of snow with 8.5 inches of water content, 23 percent of the historic average.At Shimmy Lake at 6,400 feet in the Trinity Alps Wilderness on March 30, surveyors found 33 inches of snow with 15 inches of water content, 30 percent of the historic average.At Wolford Cabin at 6,150 feet on March 27, there were 23 inches of snow with 8 inches of water content, 22 percent of the historic average.At Highland Lakes at 6,030 feet on March 28, there were 14.5 inches of snow with 2.5 inches of water content, 7 percent of the historic average.At Mumbo Basin at 5,650 feet on March 29, surveyors measured 19 inches of snow with water content of 6.5 inches, 30 percent of the historic average.At Whalan at 5,400 feet on March 29, they found 8 inches of snow with 3 inches of water content, 14 percent of the historic average.At Big Flat at 5,100 feet on March 26, the measurement was 9 inches of snow with 2 inches of water content, 17 percent of the historic average.According to the Department of Water Resources, this February was one of the driest in California history. Late winter storms helped but were not enough to put the state on track for an average year.The early-April snow survey is the most important for water supply forecasting because the snowpack is normally at its peak before it begins to melt with rising spring temperatures.However, the DWR noted that California’s exceptionally high precipitation last winter and spring resulted in above-average storage in 154 reservoirs tracked by the department. DWR estimates total storage in these reservoirs was at 107 percent of average for this time of year. As of Monday, Trinity Lake was 78 percent full and was at 98 percent of average for this time of year.
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