snowpack

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new scientific study reveals what happens at the surface of the earth can influence earthquakes originating deep underground. 

Tioga Pass Resort

One of the oldest and most popular resorts in the Yosemite highlands might not open at all this year due damage from winter weather.

 

Significant damage to the lodge building at Tioga Pass Resort east of Yosemite National Park was discovered this week.   

 

Dave Levy, the resort's general manager, blames the huge snow year.  He says more than 800 inches fell here this winter. That’s more than 60 feet of snow.

 

Ezra David Romero

Farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta got some good news this week. For the first time since 2006 farmers and ranchers who buy water from the federal Central Valley Project will have a full water supply. The Bureau of Reclamation announced Tuesday they will increase deliveries from the 65 percent forecast in late February to 100 percent.

 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Les Wright oversees all of Fresno County’s crops. He’s the agricultural commissioner here. Often he’s meeting with growers and ranchers on their farms, but today he’s fielding calls from his Fresno office.

The reason? He says farmers are busy doing office work because the rain means they can’t be in the fields.

“Some are welcoming more rain, others aren’t,” Wright says. “I was talking to one of the major growers out on the Westside and they were trying to mud-in their onion seed because it was so wet.”

NASA/Friant Water Authority

A new way to measure the snowpack from the sky is getting some positive results. FM89's Ezra David Romero reports officials hope new technology can reduce the risk of downstream flooding.

 

At the start of the year NASA crews began flying over the San Joaquin River watershed to measure the snowpack using laser pulses. This creates a way more accurate estimate of how much snow is the mountains than traditional snow surveying does.

 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

After five years of drought there’s so much snow in the Sierra Nevada that state water officials are preparing for a massive runoff year. But the traditional way of calculating the snowpack has a huge margin of error and as Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports a new way to measure it could greatly decrease that inconsistency.  

Every winter and spring a network of snow surveyors manually tally how much snow is in the Sierra Nevada. They do this by measuring snow depth in the same spots every year.

Westlands Water District website

The federal Bureau of Reclamation announced Tuesday how much water water districts across California should expect to receive this year. Eastside growers in the Friant Division within Fresno County should receive a 100 percent allocation. Ryan Jacobsen is the CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau.

 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The Sierra Nevada snowpack is so big this year that water managers are worried that one warm storm or a couple warm days could inundate reservoirs in the region. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports from Friant Dam.

 

Ezra David Romero

There are over 1,400 dams and water diversion structures throughout California. Most of the time, we don’t pay much attention to them – they do their job and fade into the background. But months of massive storms after years of drought have suddenly brought the state of our dams and reservoirs to the top of the public agenda.

The newest reading of California’s critical mountain snow pack is showing that the state currently has zero-percent of its normal snow levels. The snow reading is the lowest ever taken at this point of the year.

A warm, dry winter means that little snow fell in the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada.

The snow pack is critical to replenishing California’s surface water supply.

Maury Roos with the California Department of Water Resources says the measurement has never come in this low. 

Climate Change Means Less Sierra Nevada Runoff

Sep 2, 2014
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new study from UC Irvine shows climate change could reduce California’s water supply by changing mountain vegetation. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, even researchers were surprised how much could be lost.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California's first snow survey of the winter is showing grim results for a state that's already reeling from a two-year dry spell. 

The State's Department of Water Resources says both manual and electronic readings today were about 20 percent of average for this time of year. In some cases surveyors found more bare ground than snow. 

In the Southern Sierra, the snowpack was a little better at 30 percent of average for the start of January, but just 10 percent of the April 1 season average.

Congress.gov

With forecasts pointing to the third dry year in a row, one Central Valley congressman is calling on the governor to take emergency action to secure more water for valley farmers. FM89's Joe Moore reports.

Speaking on Valley Public Radio's Valley Edition, Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) says that California water users are facing possibly their biggest shortage in over three decades.

What Snow? Final Snow Survey Yields Dry Results

May 2, 2013
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

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.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The next to the last snow survey of the season shows extremely dry conditions for California. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, it has prompted the Department of Natural Resources to call the security of the state’s water supply “threatened.”

 The bad news: the water content in California’s snowpack is only 52 percent of normal. What’s worse, the spring melt is underway. While the season started with water content above 130 percent of normal in January, it’s been unusually dry ever since. 

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