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DWR announces Jan. 31, 2008 snow survey results

Results of the manual snow survey completed by the California Department of Water Resources off Highway 50 near Echo Summit are as follows:

Location: Alpha
Elevation: 7,600 feet
Snow Depth: 89(e) inches *
Water Content: 26(e) inches *
% of Long Term Average: 123

Location: Phillips Station
Elevation: 6,800 feet
Snow Depth: 73.1 inches
Water Content: 23.6 inches
% of Long Term Average: 123

Location: Lyons Creek
Elevation: 6,700 feet
Snow Depth: 81.8 inches
Water Content: 23.5 inches
% of Long Term Average: 120

Location: Tamarack Flat
Elevation: 6,500 feet
Snow Depth: 74.3 inches
Water Content: 21.9 inches
% of Long Term Average: 115

* (e) electronic sensor reading

Today’s survey was DWR’s second of the 2007-2008 snowfall season and shows the Echo Summit area’s snow pack water content to be about 75 percent better than this time last year.

“January is typically the wettest month of the water year,” said DWR Hydrology Branch Chief Arthur Hinojosa, “and this month’s storms have been an excellent shot in the arm to the state’s water supply. January’s precipitation has bolstered the snow pack and made up for a sub par December. Season to date is just above average and 65% of the April 1 average peak.”

In addition to the snow survey results issued today, reporters can find real-time readings of statewide water content posted on the Internet at The latest electronic sensor readings show Northern Sierra snow water equivalents at 119% of normal for this date, Central Sierra at 102%, and Southern Sierra at 122%. Statewide, the percentage of normal is at 111%.

The next manual survey is scheduled for early March. DWR’s Public Affairs Office will issue a news advisory before the event.

Importance of snow surveying

Snow-water content is important in determining the coming year's water supply. The measurements help hydrologists prepare water supply forecasts as well as provide others, such as hydroelectric power companies and the recreation industry, with much needed data.

Monitoring is coordinated by the Department of Water Resources as part of the multi-agency California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program. Surveyors from more than 50 agencies and utilities visit hundreds of snow measurement courses in California’s mountains each month to gauge the amount of water in the snow pack.

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