Light Nevada And Sierra Snowpack Could Mean Drought

Feb 15, 2018
Noah Glick

In December, snowpack in the Sierra was below normal levels, warning some water experts of a drought. Since then, a few storms have passed. Reno Public Radio's Bree Zender checks in again with Jeff Anderson, a hydrologist from the Natural Resources Conservation Service about where the snowpack levels are today, and how that could affect water flow.

Bree Zender

Noah Glick

Northern Nevada had an average year for its snowpack, and sometimes being average isn't a bad thing.

Researchers measured 42.1 inches of liquid water on Mt. Rose Friday, which is above median for the end of the season.

"You know, the take home message is that this was a great year compared to the last four," said Jeff Anderson, a hydrologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. "Fortunately, we didn't dig the hole any deeper for the drought."

Anderson added that last week's surprise spring snowstorm offered a helpful boost, especially out east.

Reno Gets More Snow Than Tahoe

Mar 28, 2016
Julia Ritchey

A snow storm warning remains in effect until early Wednesday for much of north central and northeastern Nevada.

As of Monday afternoon, the system had dumped six to as many as 14 inches around the Reno area according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Mark Deutschendorf.

"We expected this snow several days in advance however the amounts came in much higher because the storm came in much stronger in the area, and the heavier snow persisted for several hours longer," he explained. "And it  happened right over the highest populated areas of Western Nevada."

Noah Glick

Local researchers went out yesterday to measure the snowpack levels on Mount Rose. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick tagged along and learned that February fell short.

Jeff Anderson is walking down a ski run in the Mount Rose Ski Resort. He’s a hydrologist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service and he’s leading a group of scientists and members of the media to the Mount Rose snow telemetry, or SNOTEL, site where he’s taking manual measurements of the snowpack to make sure the data are consistent with electronic readings.

Unusual Snowpack Means Unusual Avalanches

Jan 21, 2016
Sierra Avalanche Center

Unusual snowpack conditions in the Sierra Nevada mountains are contributing to an increase of a type of avalanche quite uncommon for the area. Our contributor Luiza Vieira has the story.

Even with all the snow Northern Nevada and California are receiving, the number of avalanches has not increased. The Sierra Avalanche Center, however, is seeing a type of avalanche that has not happened in this area in years.

Amy Westervelt

The Natural Resources Conservation Service collects a lot of data, including snowpack measurements from more than 80 snow telemetry stations, also called SNOTEL sites, across the Sierras and Northern Nevada.

Now that we’re halfway through this winter, NRCS Hydrologist Jeff Anderson is digging into what those numbers mean, and he visited with News Director Michelle Billman to share some of his early findings.

Natural Resources Conservation Service

Snowpack measurements across the Eastern Sierra and Northern Nevada are coming in higher than normal. For the latest snowpack update, let's check in with Reno Public Radio's Michelle Billman.

As a hydrologist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Jeff Anderson oversees about 100 snow telemetry sites, also called SNOTEL stations. He visited one on Mt. Rose Monday where he measured 54 inches of snow, containing almost 16 inches of water content.

Amy Westervelt

The Tahoe Basin snowpack is better right now than at any point last winter. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details.

Jeff Anderson is a water supply specialist with the Nevada Snow Survey Program which regularly measures the snowpack. He says that in the past two winters, it's taken until February to reach as much snow as they're measuring now.

But that doesn't actually mean a whole lot just yet.

Every winter, a group of people venture into the back country of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to measure the amount of water resting in the snow, so farmers and cities can make accurate water plans.

Patrick Armstrong has been doing these snow surveys since 1972. He recently wrote a book about it called The Log of a Snow Survey, and he sat down with Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick to talk about Reno’s historical impact on this practice.