GRASS VALLEY March 1, 2013 - Despite one of the driest midwinter spells on record, Nevada Irrigation District water storage remains above the seasonal average, NID reported Friday (Mar. 1).
"Although January and February precipitation amounts were far below average, the snowpack has remained intact and there has been little change in the snowpack water content from a month ago," said NID Operations Supv. Sue Sindt.
As of Mar. 1, storage in NID's 10 reservoirs stood at 211,100 acre-feet, which is 84 percent of capacity and 124 percent of average for the date.
This follows a January that produced just 2.01 inches (16 percent of average) of precipitation at NID's Bowman Reservoir (elev. 5650 ft.). February was even drier, with 1.34 inches (13 percent of average), and ended as the eighth driest February in NID's 127 years of records.
A year ago, district officials were concerned that by Mar. 1 precipitation had reached only 50 percent of average and water content was at 38 percent. Then, the so-called "March Miracle" brought significant rain and snow and boosted water storage well into the average range.
"You never know what is going to happen," said Sindt. "With this year's switch from a wet to a dry weather pattern the district will continue to be conservative with water releases, which is helping to keep water storage above average."
Water content in the mountain snowpack now stands at 60 percent of the Mar. 1 average, according to results of NID's official Mar. 1 snow surveys which were conducted on Thursday (Feb. 28).
In the Mar. 1 measurements, NID snow surveyors recorded snowpack depth and water content on six mountain snow courses at elevations of 4,850 feet to 7,800 feet.
The snow surveys showed NID's highest course, Webber Peak, at 7,800 feet, had 67 inches of snow with a water content of 26.9 inches. The English Mountain snow course (7,100 ft.) had 54.2 inches of snow with a water content of 21.8 inches.
Webber Lake (7,000 ft.) had 50.3 inches of snow with a water content of 19 inches. Findley Peak (6,500 ft.) had a snowpack of 30.8 inches and a 12.9-inch water content. Bowman Reservoir had 24.6 inches of snow with a water content of 10.5 inches.
The sixth snow course, Chalk Bluff, at 4,850 feet on the Deer Creek watershed, had a 13.9-inch snowpack with a 6.7-inch water content (The Chalk Bluff snow course is not included in the five-course average).
Seasonal precipitation at Bowman Reservoir (elev. 5,650 ft.) stood at 45.31 inches as of Feb. 28, which equals 94 percent of the Mar. 1 average. Seasonal precipitation is measured July 1-June 30.
A member of the California Cooperative Snow Survey, NID conducts four official snow surveys each year, in February, March, April and May. Results of the snow surveys are used to predict water availability locally and statewide.
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