Snowpack in Marble Mountains 125% of Normal

Snow telemetry station

Snow telemetry station near Scott Mountain, Callahan, CA, January 30, 2017. [Photo from the Klamath National Forest]

News update from the Klamath National Forest:

The Klamath National Forest has completed the March 1st snow surveys. These measurements are a part of the statewide California Cooperative Snow Survey program, which helps the State forecast the amount of water available for agriculture, power generation, recreation, and stream flow releases later in the year.

The March 1 snow measurements for 2017 are vastly improved compared to the last several years.  Winter started early in Scott Valley and the Marble Mountains with snow falling as early as September and accumulating since October.  Regular snow has fallen since that time, with few impactful melting periods.  An above average snow pack was surveyed in February.  March data has continued to be above average compared with historic data at the same locations.  According to the current measurements, the snowpack is at 125% of the historic average snow height (snow depth) and at 125% of the historic average Snow Water Equivalent (SWE, a measure of water content) across the Scott River watershed survey points.  These data are very similar to last month’s data, however, the snowpack has become slightly denser.  Historically, the snowpack reaches its annual maximum by late-March/early-April.

Snow surveys are conducted monthly during the winter and spring months (March-May). Forest Service employees travel to established sites in the headwaters of the Scott River watershed to collect information about snow accumulation in the mountains of the Klamath National Forest.  The newest measuring site at Scott Mountain has been monitored for 31 years; the oldest site at Middle Boulder has been monitored for 71 years.  Some sites are located close to Forest roads with good access, while others require hours of travel by snowshoe and/or snowmobile.

The height of snow and SWE are measured by a snow sampling tube with a cutter end that is driven through the snow pack, measuring depth. The snow core is then weighed to determine the water content (SWE). The information is forwarded to the State of California, where the data is compiled with other snow depth reports and becomes part of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys program. The data is managed by the California Department of Water Resources; more information is available on their website at http://cdec.water.ca.gov/snow/current/snow/index.html.

All news releases, including past snow survey results, are posted on the Klamath National Forest’s website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/newsarchives/klamath/newsarchive.

March 1st 2017 Snow Survey Results Scott River Sub-Basin
Snow Course Height of Snow Snow Water Equivalent
Measured Historic Average for Mar 1 % of Historic Average Measured Historic Average for Mar 1 % of Historic Average
Middle Boulder 1
(Established 1946 / Elevation 6600’)
69.5″ 65.1” 107% 37.5″ 26.0” 144%
Middle Boulder 3
(Established 1948 / Elevation 6200’)
84.5″ 60.0” 141% 32.0″ 23.1″ 138%
Dynamite Meadow
(Established 1955 / Elevation 5700’)
49.0″ 47.0” 104% 15.5” 16.2” 96%
Swampy John
(Established 1951 / Elevation 5500’)
89.5″ 71.0” 126% 27.0″ 24.9” 108%
Scott Mountain
(Established 1986 / Elevation 5900’)
75.5″ 51.1” 148% 27.5″ 19.6″ 140%
Total average 125% 125%

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2 comments

  • With regards to weather there has been a misuse of the word “normal”….. Average does not equal normal. Normal is the human assumption of we think the weather ‘should’ be. Average is the statistical reality.

    • are the salmon coming back?

      yes! avalanches were common in willow creek prior to deforestation and development. “history”, in this case…record keeping…starts at the beginning of the increasingly rapid decline of what would then be misnomered “pre-historic” normal conditions. this entire area was, very literally, a rainforest.

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