Highway 50 snow, photo courtesy Marci Tyrrell
El DORADO COUNTY, CA - California, which relies heavily on winter snowpack turning into water for residents, agriculture and industry, is off to a good start this season.
According to the season's first manual reading of the Sierra Nevada snowpack this season, snowpack water content is one-third above average for the date. Measurements taken at three locations and different elevations near Echo Summit off Highway 50 in El Dorado County on Wednesday morning found snow depth ranging from 48.6 inches to 56 inches with water content ranging from 12.1 inches to 16 inches.
The January to May monthly manual measurements supplement electronic sensor readings taken from the multiple locations from the northern to southern Sierra.
California Department of Water Resources spokesman Ted Thomas said reservoirs were also looking good early in the season. Lake Oroville in Butte County is at 71 percent of its 3.5 million acre-feet capacity. That is 113 percent of normal for the date. Lake Shasta north of Redding, with a capacity of 4.5 million acre-feet, is at 73 percent of capacity, 115 percent of average for the date.
An acre-foot of water covers one acre to a depth of one foot.