Snow Survey at the Summit

By: Denise Wong Email
By: Denise Wong Email

Mt. Rose Summit, NV - When scientists Ed Blake and Dan Greenlee, both with the NRCS, went up to Mount Rose Summit to survey the snow on February 1, they weren't expecting much.

And they were right.

"About what we expected," said Greenlee, a hydrologist for NRCS. "Very low year unfortunately."

How low was the snow?

"It's just pretty sad. Only three feet of snow; we should be sitting on ten to twelve feet of snow here," said Greenlee.

But they say it could have been much worse.

"Luckily, just these past two weeks, we got a couple of very decent storms. Because about two weeks ago, we were at 8 percent of average. Now, we are up at about 35. So it did make a difference," said Ed Blake, a soil scientist with NRCS.

But should we be worried about our water supply in the Truckee Meadows, since the snow melt from the mountains accounts for most of our supply?

"Well, any time you start getting low snow packs like this, people start getting a little concerned about the runoff," said Greenlee. "Fortunately, from our big year last year, we got a ton of water in Tahoe. Plenty of storage there and enough to meet our needs for at least one more year if not more. So I wouldn't say 'worried' is the right word. It's just nicer to get a lot more snow and higher runoffs. Just everybody's a little happier to get more snow," said Greenlee.

In the meantime, these two will be keeping their eyes on the skies... and their fingers crossed.

"We just keep hoping that we get out of this pattern and we get into a wet pattern and add to the snow pack," said Blake.

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