Sierra Precipitation Off to Best Start in Three Years

Three weeks into the water year, precipitation in the Sierra is off to its best start since 2004.

That's the good news. The bad news is it's only three weeks into the water year.

"There's no statistical evidence that shows that an earlier snow means more snow," Nevada State Climatologist Jeffery Underwood said.

Still, Underwood said he was happy to see the precipitation, particularly with after two very dry years.

According to the Central Sierra Snow Laboratory on Donner Summit, the precipitation for October 2006 was 1.20 inches and 1.64 inches in October 2005. So far, 2.64 inches have fallen in October 2007.

In 2004, 10.44 inches fell during October with 2.23 inches by Oct. 18.

"Because our snow totals somehow parallel some other years is no indication of what this next winter will be," said Randall Osterhuber, a snow hydrologist at the laboratory.

This year's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Forecast Climate Prediction Center reports that northern Nevada has equal chances of getting more or less snow this year, Underwood said.

"It's kind of like reading a crystal ball, it's a general statement that can apply to many situations," he said.

Underwood said he's hoping for average or better snowfall this winter to counteract two dry previous years.

"Early snow doesn't hurt anything either," Underwood said. "There isn't a negative relationship."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)