Wednesday Mar 31 2010
More snowfall, cold conditions give ski resorts, water suppliers a lift
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Wintry weather conditions are helping bolster mountain snowpack with totals now close to the average for this time of year. Ski resorts are reveling in the snow that has fallen since Monday and can be measured in feet rather than inches. Water suppliers are rejoicing over what looks like another year of full deliveries to customers. And the National Weather Service is forecasting still more snow on the way. The snowpack – used to calculate Sierra water availability for the coming dry season – is at least 94 percent of average, according to the latest Nevada Irrigation District snow survey. The survey was done on Friday, before the latest round of storms moved in. Measurements found an average of 31.8 inches of average water content in the snowpack – not far from the 33.9-inch average for the survey that occurs on or around April 1. “It’s been slightly dry through much of March so it was pleasing to have the snow survey results come in near average,” district Operations Supervisor Sue Sindt said today. “With this week’s storms, March may end up near-average.” The district has an adequate water supply to make full deliveries to our customers this year and Rollins, Combie and Scotts Flat reservoirs are nearly full, she said. The district’s survey measures snowpack depth and water content on six snow courses ranging in elevation from 4,850 feet to 7,800 feet. At Alpine Meadows ski resort, spokeswoman Rachael Woods said 45 inches of new snow had fallen since Monday night at the higher elevations. That bodes well for the coming weekend, when Easter holiday skiers take to the slopes in bonnets and other seasonal garb, Woods said. Alpine Meadows is one of the resorts that will offer Easter egg hunts for both children and adults. Woods said the accumulated snow totals for Alpine Meadows upper elevations has now reached 63.9 feet, thanks to the latest round of snowfall. Karl Swanberg, weather bureau meteorologist, said the snow should continue to fall – even in Auburn. With temperatures dipping into the mid-30s overnight Tuesday, some eastern areas of the community were dusted by snowflakes early today. A slight chance of snow showers was forecast for Auburn overnight tonight and continuing into the early morning Thursday. Colfax and Foresthill, at about 3,000 feet elevation, should also see snow. Partly cloudy conditions should occur later Thursday, with a chance of rain in the afternoon, Swanberg said. The cool and cloudy conditions should continue through Sunday, with a chance of rain or snow, depending on elevation, he said. “We’re continuing to expect coolish, unsettled weather patterns,’ Swanberg said. “Auburn might see some wet flakes.” The snow was anticipated to fall through Thursday in the mountains, with two to five inches in the higher elevations, he added.