Grass Valley, CA., Feb. 2, 2023 – The series of recent storms delivered a hefty amount of snow on Nevada Irrigation District (NID) snow courses that provide water to raw- and treated water customers. In fact, the amount of snow water equivalent was the third highest ever recorded for a February snow survey.
During the survey, NID hydrographers found the average water content in the snowpack was 36.9 inches, which is 184 percent of the 20.1-inch average for this time of year at the District’s five high-elevation snow courses.
Cumulative precipitation at Bowman Reservoir was 57.32 inches, which is 156 percent of average.
District reservoir storage is also well above average. NID’s nine reservoirs are currently storing 230,543 acre-feet of water, which is 85 percent of capacity and 120 percent of average.
“A series of nine atmospheric river events between December 26 and January 20 increased reservoir storage levels and produced a snowpack that is well above average for this time of year,” said NID’s Water Resources Superintendent Thor Larsen. “The amount of snow water equivalent was the third highest recorded for a February snow survey.”
In total, January precipitation was 21.8 inches; that is 156 percent of average.
Although conditions are extremely favorable, it’s still too early to tell if it’s enough to break the drought. If dry, warm conditions return in the months ahead, the snowpack can quickly disappear.
“We’re hopeful weather patterns continue to be favorable for California through the winter and carry into spring,” Larsen said.
Here are the specifics of the recent snow survey:
- NID’s highest course, Webber Peak, at 7,800 feet, had 115.3 inches of snow with a water content of 42.4 inches
- English Mountain snow course (7,100 ft.) had 110.6 inches of snow with a water content of 47.1 inches
- Webber Lake (7,000 ft.) had 100.1 inches of snow with a water content of 36 inches
- Findley Peak (6,500 ft.) had a snowpack of 93.2 inches and a 33.1-inch water content
- Bowman Reservoir (5,650 ft.) had 67.2 inches of snow and a 26-inch water content
- At the lower Chalk Bluff snow course (4,850 ft.) on the Deer Creek watershed, the survey showed 31.6 inches of snow with 12.3 inches of water content (the Chalk Bluff numbers are not included in the total average).
The surveys were conducted from Jan. 25-27.
A member of the California Cooperative Snow Survey, NID conducts three official snow surveys each year in February, March and April. Results of the snow surveys are used to predict water availability locally and statewide.