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NID March survey measures “robust” snowpack

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NID Hydrographer Bobby Laird takes a measurement at English Mountain on March 2, 2023.

Snow water content is in top five for all March surveys

(Grass Valley, March 9, 2023) – Recent rounds of heavy snow continue to bolster the snowpack on Nevada Irrigation District’s (NID) snow courses that provide water to customers.

The district conducted its latest snow survey on March 2 and 3. Yet, due to the harsh winter weather and access restrictions, NID hydrographers were only able to take measurements at two- of five high-elevation courses: English Mountain and Findley Peak.

The English Mountain snow course (7,100 feet) had 152.8 inches of snow with a water content of 60.8 inches. Findley Peak (6,500 feet) had a snowpack of 129.9 inches and a 46.5-inch water content.

For comparison, the historical March 1 average water content for the five mountain courses is 27.8 inches.

“Late February storms have continued to add to an increasingly robust snowpack,” said NID’s Water Resources Superintendent Thor Larsen. “In fact, the amount of water content at the courses measure was in the top five for all March snow surveys.”

As a note: the snow water content measures the amount of water contained in the snowpack and provides key information for NID’s water supply forecast.

Although hydrographers weren’t able to access weather data for Bowman Lake, earlier Feb. 25 readings showed precipitation totaled 62.94 inches, which was 156 percent of average.

In addition to snowpack, NID reservoir storage is also well above average. NID’s nine reservoirs were storing 230,952 acre-feet of water, which is 85 percent of capacity and 111 percent of average for this date.

“March is shaping up to be another wet month and with snowlines projected to rise, we are anticipating high flows in local waterways. Please use caution around rivers and streams,” Larsen said.

NID is a member of the California Cooperative Snow Survey. The district conducts three official snow surveys each year in February, March and April. Results of the surveys are used to predict water availability locally and statewide.

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Bowman Lake on March 2, 2023
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