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Re: Current Snow Pack

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Current Snow Pack
December 18, 2013 07:40AM
I'm trying to figure where we stand so far this year but have a hard time understanding the various websites data on this - It looks like we are currently under again percentage wise on snow pack right now, yes? Anybody have any comments on this - Does snow usually come much later in the Sierra's or can a couple of storms replenish the snow pack to 100% - I'm clueless!
Re: Current Snow Pack
December 18, 2013 07:45AM
After my first post I found a website that was a little more clearer but it just speaks of the eastern sierra - still it looks promising even though it may be too early in the season to tell

http://www.sierrawave.net/tag/eastern-sierra-snowpack/feed/

In terms of snow and water content, the Eastern Sierra snowpack has started to climb its way above last year’s dismal levels. The peak usually takes place in April, but for right now the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power website snowpack graphs look better.

The snow on Mammoth Pass tells the story. Right now, it sits at 12.5 inches of water. Last year at this time, the snowpack looked more like 4 or 5 inches of water content.

LADWP keeps what they call snow pillows in individual mountain sites throughout Inyo-Mono. They measure snowfall. In terms of percent of normal for this time of year, Mammoth Pass sits at 145%. Rock Creek, 198%. South Lake, 85%. Big Pine Creek, 80% Cottonwood Lakes, 160%.

Precipitation measurements that LADWP calculates from several sites show Lee Vining at 172% of normal for this time of year. Long Valley, 90%. Bishop, 38%. Big Pine, 40%, Independence, 57%. Los Angeles, 31%. Again, that’s precipitation.

So, it’s definitely not the final story for the year, but the precipitation – both frozen and liquid – have fallen in greater amounts than last year. It’s enough to keep the recreation engine churning, but environmental benefits will come clear later.
Re: Current Snow Pack
December 18, 2013 11:15AM
My interpretation is quite a bit less optomistic. I work with the water engineers at LADWP, and they are pretty gloomy at this point.

Let's start with some history. This graph will give some perspective:

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/products/PLOT_SWC.2011.pdf

On that graph, there are two points of note: the average year at this date, and a huge snow year at this date.

The graph is of "april 1st percentage" The average year at this date is about 20%, and a huge snow year at about 75%. You have to look at a lot of these graphs, but you understand that with the big snow years, there is virtually always a big December as part of that.

These are the actual real time numbers:

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cdecapp/snowapp/sweq.action

We are at 7% of Ap 1st ave, statewide.

Unless we have something happen that is not predicted, it cannot be a big snow year. In fact, each day that passes makes it less likely that it will be an average snow year. Yes, it is looking better than last year, but last year was one of the driest in history.
Re: Current Snow Pack
December 19, 2013 07:34AM
I came across the 7% numbers at first also which didn't make me optimistic - What I find a little hard to understand is the graph itself - December is generally low percentage wise anyway but then everything picks up and peaks in April - This is what is confusing me - When I first looked at the graph, I just assumed we were talking about snowfall during that period - but we can't have that much snow in April and May - It must just be talking about snow melt that is picking up from all of the storms through the course of winter and is beginning to melt at that time - Does this make sense or am I looking at this incorrectly
Re: Current Snow Pack
December 21, 2013 09:26AM
What is confusing you is the y-axis.

What is being measure is NOT snow, but percentage of april 1 average.
That is why for an AVERAGE YEAR, the date april 1 MUST be 100%.
It is a cumulative graph, not an occurrence graph, so the amount on, lets say, May 1st is the sum of all the snow/water that has fallen in this season.


April 1 is generally considered the typical end of the snow/rainfall season, although it isn't always so, particularly in big years.
Re: Current Snow Pack
December 19, 2013 02:16AM
Re: Current Snow Pack
December 24, 2013 02:33PM
Here north of San Francisco, we are at 20% of normal rainfall for this point of the season. I suspect it's going to be a dry year.
Re: Current Snow Pack
December 27, 2013 11:22AM
Here is a weather site by an expert, which forecasts a very dry winter, with the science behind it:

http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/
Re: Current Snow Pack
December 28, 2013 11:52PM
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/12/27/3104861/california-driest-year/#

California Gripped By Driest Year Ever — With No Relief In Sight

The city of Los Angeles has received only 3.6 inches of rain this year — far below its average of 14.91 inches, USA Today reported. And San Francisco is experiencing its driest year since recordkeeping began in 1849. As of November, the city had only received 3.95 inches of rain since the year began.
The state is enduring its driest year on record and while a drought emergency has not yet been officially declared, the U.S. National Drought Monitor shows that as of December 24, nearly the entire state is gripped by severe to extreme drought conditions.

The prolonged drought also poses a serious risk to the state’s water supply. Due to a string of warm, dry winters and the declining snowpack that they bring, many of the state’s northern reservoirs have been stuck at precariously low levels this year, some dwindling to just one-third or one-half capacity. “Going forward, continued dry conditions will not build the snowpack critically needed for this year’s water supplies,” the California Department of Water Resources posted on its website this week.
Re: Current Snow Pack
February 10, 2014 08:10PM
L.A. Ducks Drought by Saving up Water for a Dry Day
KQED Science | February 5, 2014

by Steven Cuevas, Los Angeles Bureau Chief, The California Report

The state’s severe water shortage has certainly left no drought of ideas for how to address it—from lawmakers floating a host of water bills, to Governor Jerry Brown calling on residents to curb usage.

But in Southern California, there’s no imminent threat of water rationing. In fact, the region may be in a position to help other water-starved parts of the state.


http://blogs.kqed.org/science/2014/02/05/l-a-ducks-drought-by-saving-up-water-for-a-dry-day/
Re: Current Snow Pack
February 10, 2014 08:16PM
Sierra snow water content chart as of February 10th, 2014:

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/comment.html?entrynum=242
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