December 20, 2014
It's official. The past winter was a bust for snow in the Sierra.
April 1st marked the traditional end to the snow season, and the mountain snowpack is barely half what it should be.
U-S Natural Resources Conservation Service hydrologist Dan Greenlee calls it dismal.
At the Mount Rose snow survey site south of Reno, the snowpack is 44 percent of where it should be.
Across the Sierra, the early April snowpack averages about 40 percent to 50 percent of normal. In the Lake Tahoe Basin, it's only 38 percent.
The government uses the April snowpack to determine what to expect in the way of runoff in rivers and streams this spring and summer. Those forecasts are used by officials responsible for providing the water needed through the remainder of the year.
Greenlee says natural runoff this year should be about 40 percent of normal.