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Valley Public Radio Staff
Thu May 2, 2013
What Snow? Final Snow Survey Yields Dry Results
The season’s final snow survey in California found what most expected – dry conditions. Snow surveyors found absolutely no snow on the ground at Phillips Station, nearly 7,000 feet up Echo Summit in the Sierras.
Water content in California’s snowpack is only 17 percent of normal, meaning a below average water supply this summer.
Frank Gehrke with the Department of Water Resources says despite that, most reservoirs are near normal levels for the date thanks to early winter storms.
“Our reservoir storage is what’s going to get us through right now this year. But the big concern is that we will not be replenishing the storage as we should in a normal year,” says Gehrke.
Judging California’s water supply will soon be much more precise. The Department of Water Resources has teamed up with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to conduct aerial snow surveys. Their technology will be able to gauge the snowpack’s depth and reflectivity to better estimate water supply.