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Tahoe Nugget #55:

Snow Survey Doesn't Tell Whole Story (2 Photos )
March 6, 2006

The preliminary results of the March snow survey are in and the results come as no surprise. Precipitation values so far this season are exceptional — we're running at about 150% of normal for this time of year — but high elevation rains between Christmas and New Years, coupled with an extended period of mild dry weather in February, have depleted the snowpack in the lower elevations. On March 1, 2006, survey measurements in the Truckee River and Lake Tahoe basins indicate the snowpack's water content is running at about 75% of average. Since it rarely rains from May to October, water runoff from the snowpack is critical to water supply in the West.

Hefty snowpacks in the upper elevations are proof-positive of our wet winter and sometimes it's better to look at the big picture rather than get caught up in the numbers game. The snow survey data indicates that the regional snowpack's water content is running a bit soft at this time, but our lakes, rivers and streams have already absorbed much of the sub-tropical downpours that we suffered through around New Years. Tahoe is up 3 feet so far this winter. Hydrologists may feel concern about the recent survey statistics but not the skiers and boarders on the upper slopes of Kirkwood Resort where the snowpack is nearly 21 feet deep. The high country just south of Lake Tahoe has picked up almost 40 feet of snow this winter, and here comes March, one of the snowiest months of the season.

Photo #1: Lenticular cloud forming over Lake Tahoe before approaching storm today indicates strong jet stream
Photo #2: Plenty of snow in the High Country

Nugget #55 A Tahoe lenticular 3-5-06 ID from Mt Rose

Nugget #55 B Snow covered trees000-01

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