Miracle March: How Close Did We Get?

By: Denise Wong Email
By: Denise Wong Email

RENO, NV - We did not get the "Miracle March" hydrologists were hoping for in our region, but they say the rain and snow we did receive was very much needed.

At Squaw Valley, skiers and snowboarders are enjoying all of the fresh snow that fell over the weekend.

Ross Philips, who was visiting from Livermore, California, says he was out skiing when the snow fell.

"The snow was actually our January powder day. It came a little late, but at least it came," he says.

"It turned out incredible," says Amelia Richmond, spokesperson for Squaw Valley. "We had 14 feet of snow in March alone."

That's why many Sierra ski resorts are extending their ski seasons. At Squaw Valley, they're extending it through the month and Alpine Meadows is staying open for skiing and riding through Mid-May. Heavenly was supposed to close the season on April 15, but it will now stay open for the two weekends following that. Kirkwood is also extending the season.

Experts say those storms we had in March were great, but they didn't solve our dry season problems.

"All these storms, all the wind we've been putting up with the last few weeks... pulled us out of almost record-breaking low conditions, but we're still only sitting at about 40 to 50-percent average up there right now," says Dan Greenlee, a NRCS hydrologist. "We got a really good March, but not a 'Miracle March.'"

Bill Hauck, hydrologist for the Truckee Meadows Water Authority, says we don't have to worry about our water supply, though this summer. He says TMWA plans ahead in case we experience dry weather seasons like this one. He says there is enough in reserve for the Reno area this year.

However, Greenlee says he is concerned about the farmers and ranchers in the state.

"You know, TMWA's got it pretty well covered. They've got back up plans for multi-year droughts even if the reservoirs go down, but the agricultural community is going to take a little bit of a hit this year, I'm afraid," says Greenlee.

Greenlee will head up to Mount Rose summit on Tuesday morning to perform his April snowpack survey and get another check of March's precipitation totals.

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