Some in the Sierra still optimistic despite below-average snowpack

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Data pix.

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) -- Last month, the state's snow survey team saw snow levels just shy of average and on Thursday the trend continued downward.

"Seventy-nine percent of an average February and 58% of the April 1 average here at this location,” said Sean de Guzman, chief of the Department of Water Resources’ Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Section.

Along with measurements taken at the station near Echo Summit, measurements at 260 other locations indicate the snowpack is below average.

And long-range forecasts are not encouraging for authorities.

“Are kind of trending to below normal,” de Guzman said.

But long-range weather forecasting is notoriously unreliable. State water watchers are not panicking just yet, even though there are no big storms forecast for the Sierra in the next several weeks.

History has shown that the next two or three months can bring heavy snow and rain.

Snow measurements are crucial for reservoir managers, whether the measurements are high or low.

"It helps them manage their water supplies. It also helps them manage their releases downstream and that can help reduce flood risks,” said Jeremy Jill, chief of the DWR’s Operations Support Branch.

Skiers just up the hill were not concerned with the numbers and neither were resort operators who benefitted from December storms.

"Right now, with 200 inches year to date, we're doing good,” said Sarah Sherman with Sierra-at-Tahoe.

Tulia Natalia has been skiing in the Sierra for nearly 50 years and has the optimism of an avid skier.

"I've seen 6 feet of snow here in July and it will come February, March. It's going to be a big year,” she told FOX40.

Hydrologists do not rely on emotions but they say reservoirs are still benefitting from snowfall from the last two years.

They also said during the drought, the meadow at the measuring station had no snow at all.

“We're standing currently on 4 to 5 feet of snow,” de Guzman said. “So I'd say we're in decent shape right now.”

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