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Sierra Snowpack at 153 Percent of Average

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PHILLIPS STATION — Scientists took measurements for the second manual snow survey of the season at the historic Phillips Station at Sierra Tahoe. This is a tradition that has been going on every winter since 1941.

Department of Water Resources (DWR) survey found a snow water equivalence of 28.1 inches, a big increase since the January 3 survey, when turned up only 6 inches. The large storms in January are to credit for the increased snowpack.

“We’ve got a very good snowpack. Very good snow on the ground,” Frank Gehrke, Chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program said.

After sampling seven locations monitors recorded an average of 28.1 inches of water content critical measurement, and 90.3 inches in depth of snow. They said this is equivalent to 153 percent of average.

“Not only do we have a really good water content, but it’s pretty optimal certainly for water supply and but also fort recreation,” Gehrke said.

This is especially true for neighboring Sierra at Tahoe Ski resort.

“2017 is off with a bang here at Sierra at Tahoe,” Sierra at Tahoe Public relations specialist Thea Hardy said. Two years ago, drought was so severe, workers had to get creative to stay open.

“We actually ‘farmed snow,’ which means we took snow from the parking lot, or areas where we don’t want to accumulate, we re-purposed it on the mountain,” Hardy said.

Snowboarders and skiiers are excited about the season’s powder outlook.

“Apparently, over the weekend, we are getting over 2 feet of snow. so that’s pretty exciting. So we are going to get some powder days, which is going to be a lot of fun!” snowboarder, CJ Davison said.

It is both a fun and promising outlook for California’s water supply.

“Some of the best snow you can have… And we are looking forward to more of it,” Gehrke said.

Despite impressive numbers, experts said the state is not out of the drought yet. Scientists said these new numbers help with the drought. But it is the Governor’s office that officially declares if we are no longer experiencing the drought.