Latest Snowpack Report is Welcomed News for California Farmers

Brittany Covich, Belinda Gutierrez, Nic Enstice, and Frank Gehrke conduct a snow survey at Phillips Station, CA. (Photo Credit: Maggie Macias / California Department of Water Resources)

With every monthly measurement of the California snowpack this winter, the state’s rebound from the previous five years of drought becomes more evident. The latest electronic readings from 95 sites in the Sierra Nevada show an average statewide snow water equivalent (SWE) of 45.8 inches, or 164% of the historical average for March 30 (27.9 inches).

Today’s manual snow survey by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada found a SWE of 46.1 inches, 183% of the late March/early April long-term average at Phillips (25.2 inches). The three previous 2017 surveys at Phillips near the beginning of March, February, and January found an SWE of 43.5 inches for March, 28 inches for February, and 6 inches for January.

SWE is the depth of water that theoretically would result if the entire snowpack melted instantaneously. That measurement is more important than depth in evaluating the status of the snowpack. On average, the snowpack supplies about 30 % of California’s water needs as it melts in the spring and early summer.

Electronic measurements indicate the water content of the northern Sierra snowpack is 40.8 inches, 147% of the multi-decade March 30 average. The central and southern Sierra readings are 50.5 inches (175% of average) and 43.9 inches (164% of average), respectively.

Dr. Michael Anderson, State Climatologist, observed: “Although the record pace of the snowpack accumulation fell off significantly in March, California enters the snowmelt season with a large snowpack that will result in high water in many rivers through the spring.”

The Phillips snow course, near the intersection of Highway 50 and Sierra-at-Tahoe Road, is one of hundreds surveyed manually throughout the winter. Manual measurements augment the electronic readings from about 100 sensors in the state’s mountains that provide a current snapshot of the water content in the snowpack.

Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program, conducted DWR’s survey today at Phillips and said of his findings, “The storm track shifted away from California during March, but we still have a very substantial snowpack, particularly in the higher elevations in the central and southern Sierra. This is an extremely good year from the snowpack standpoint,” he said, adding that this year’s snowpack ranks in the upper quarter of historic snowpacks and is providing “great reservoir recovery.”

The report out of California follows similarly good news out of Washington State. Forecasts for spring and summer runoff have increase by 10-20 percentage points.

“From once was the start of another dismal snow year the precipitation and cool temperatures, last month brought a bounty of fresh snow rebuilding an eroded pack back to near or above normal in all basins in the state,” said Natural Resources Conservation Service Water Supply Specialist, Scott Pattee.

Washington State received much above normal precipitation for February and in March with year to date averages remain near to slightly above normal. The highest percent of average rainfall in February came from the Olympic and Lower Snake basins at 208% and 204%. The lowest was in the Upper Columbia at 122%. Year-to-date averages range from 138% in the Olympics to 94% in the Upper Yakima. As usual the wettest area in the state was around Mount St. Helens with Swift Creek SNOTEL recording 35.1 inches, nearly 22 inches more than the 30-year average or 262% of average.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
Citrus
October 18, 2017
How to Keep Track of Climate Change
Use cool tools to find out how your production methods may change in the future, how much your area is at risk, and how to limit your own impact on the climate. Read More
Citrus
October 17, 2017
USDA Issues Disaster Declaration for Hurricane-Stricken Florida Farmers
Operators in designated counties eligible for emergency assistance. Read More
Flooded peach and grape groves from Irma at UF/IFAS HAEC
Citrus
October 16, 2017
Wrath of Hurricane Irma’s Rainfall Measured by the Trillions
Report says storm dropped enough gallons of water on Florida’s St. Johns River Water Management District to swamp 6.7 million football fields. Read More
Fallen citrus fruit in wake of Irma
Citrus
October 12, 2017
Irma Rains Down on Florida Citrus Crop Estimate
Initial USDA forecast reflects the fruits of what was left behind by monster storm. Read More
A water-logged citrus grove in Southwest Florida following Irma
Citrus
October 10, 2017
Impressions from Irma Indelible on the Florida Farmscape [Slideshow]
Striking images from the field reveal not only the storm’s destructive nature, but also paths to recovery and reconstruction. Read More
Citrus
October 9, 2017
(We Won’t Back Down … ) Stand Your Ground for Agriculture
You don’t have to be a super hero, rock star, or award-winning scientist to aid farming. You can help by supporting professionalism in fields. Read More
Greenhouse structure damage at SWFREC in Immokalee
Citrus
October 6, 2017
Complications Persist as Florida Growers Pick up After Irma
Ground zero perspective reveals how citrus and vegetable producers are facing different, daunting challenges in wake of destructive storm. Read More
Growers boot up drone technology on the farm
Citrus
October 5, 2017
Are You a Precision Grower?
Gathering, analysis, and application still seems to be the best basic definition of precision agriculture. Read More
Greenhouse structures flattened by Irma at C&B Farms
Citrus
October 5, 2017
Hurricane Irma Toll on Florida Farming in the Billions
Preliminary damage estimates confirm storm’s ferocity. Read More
A sea of citrus fruit floating in floodwater after Irma
Citrus
October 5, 2017
Tips to Help Hurricane-Stressed Citrus Trees
Cleaning up damage and small doses of nutrition the fastest path to helping blocks bounce back. Read More
Citrus
October 4, 2017
Goodlatte Officially Introduces the Ag Guestworker Act
On Monday, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced his Agricultural Guestworker Act of 2017 bill, which would replace H-2A with an H-2C program. Rep. Goodlatte introduced the bill to the House Judiciary Committee, which he chairs. Read More
honeybees
Citrus
October 2, 2017
$10 Million for Honeybee Health
National Honey Board, Project Apis.m investing in pollinator research. Read More
Swamped citrus in Southwest Florida
Citrus
October 2, 2017
Perseverance a Priority for Florida Farmers Post-Irma
Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam heartened by the strides being made by growers around the state as they begin to recover from the hurricane. Read More
cash money in hand
Citrus
October 2, 2017
$18 Million in Grants Available for Value-Added Producers
Farmers in need of planning or working capital funds to move their ideas forward encouraged to check out program. Read More
Asian citrus psyllid closeup
Insect & Disease Update
September 28, 2017
Attention to Citrus Psyllid Control Critical After Hurricane Irma
Flushing trees will give HLB vector perfect breeding ground. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
October 20, 2017
Is Your Orange Juice Glass Half Empty or…
There is strong-willed — some might even say stubborn — blood flowing through the veins of Florida growers. Read More
Citrus
October 19, 2017
Disaster Relief: Ways Florida Growers Ca…
With billions of dollars lost to Irma, financial assistance will be crucial for many. Read More
Citrus
October 18, 2017
How to Keep Track of Climate Change
Use cool tools to find out how your production methods may change in the future, how much your area is at risk, and how to limit your own impact on the climate. Read More
Citrus
October 17, 2017
USDA Issues Disaster Declaration for Hur…
Operators in designated counties eligible for emergency assistance. Read More
Citrus
October 16, 2017
Wrath of Hurricane Irma’s Rainfall…
Report says storm dropped enough gallons of water on Florida’s St. Johns River Water Management District to swamp 6.7 million football fields. Read More
Citrus
October 12, 2017
Irma Rains Down on Florida Citrus Crop E…
Initial USDA forecast reflects the fruits of what was left behind by monster storm. Read More
Citrus
October 10, 2017
Impressions from Irma Indelible on the F…
Striking images from the field reveal not only the storm’s destructive nature, but also paths to recovery and reconstruction. Read More
Citrus
October 9, 2017
(We Won’t Back Down … ) Stan…
You don’t have to be a super hero, rock star, or award-winning scientist to aid farming. You can help by supporting professionalism in fields. Read More
Citrus
October 6, 2017
Complications Persist as Florida Growers…
Ground zero perspective reveals how citrus and vegetable producers are facing different, daunting challenges in wake of destructive storm. Read More
Citrus
October 5, 2017
Are You a Precision Grower?
Gathering, analysis, and application still seems to be the best basic definition of precision agriculture. Read More
Citrus
October 5, 2017
Hurricane Irma Toll on Florida Farming i…
Preliminary damage estimates confirm storm’s ferocity. Read More
Citrus
October 5, 2017
Tips to Help Hurricane-Stressed Citrus T…
Cleaning up damage and small doses of nutrition the fastest path to helping blocks bounce back. Read More
Citrus
October 4, 2017
Goodlatte Officially Introduces the Ag G…
On Monday, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced his Agricultural Guestworker Act of 2017 bill, which would replace H-2A with an H-2C program. Rep. Goodlatte introduced the bill to the House Judiciary Committee, which he chairs. Read More
Citrus
October 2, 2017
$10 Million for Honeybee Health
National Honey Board, Project Apis.m investing in pollinator research. Read More
Citrus
October 2, 2017
Perseverance a Priority for Florida Farm…
Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam heartened by the strides being made by growers around the state as they begin to recover from the hurricane. Read More
Citrus
October 2, 2017
$18 Million in Grants Available for Valu…
Farmers in need of planning or working capital funds to move their ideas forward encouraged to check out program. Read More
Citrus
September 27, 2017
Research on Jet Fuel Cover Crop Ready fo…
Scientists seeking to find if carinata can sustainably feed future renewable energy demands. Read More
Citrus
September 27, 2017
Agriculture Offers Rare Opportunity for …
A running theme from agricultural-friendly politicians speaking at the United Fresh Produce Association's Washington Conference was the need for a bipartisan approach to agriculture and immigration. Read More