Amazing numbers accompany record snowpack

Fresh snow flocks trees in the Carson Range above Genoa on Wednesday morning.

Fresh snow flocks trees in the Carson Range above Genoa on Wednesday morning.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

Blasting at Heavenly Mountain Resort to reduce avalanche danger can be heard across Carson Valley on Wednesday morning after reporting 11 inches of new snow over the past two days.

On Monday, Natural Resources Conservation Service Hydrologist Jeff Anderson will hike up to the Mount Rose snow telemetry site for the last time this season.

“This year has ranked as one of the best snowpacks on record for our region,” the agency said on Tuesday.

According to the snow telemetry, Heavenly Valley is at 57.7 inches, or only a tenth of an inch off the maximum record 57.8 inches set April 20, 2017.

Starting April 30, that record maximum is handed off to 1983, 40 years ago.

Heavenly and Mount Rose are both in the Truckee River watershed, which is running 184 percent of median.

Most years, there isn’t any snowpack at Spratt Creek, one of the lowest altitude snow telemetry sites in the Carson River Basin.

With triple the median snow-water equivalent, that’s not true this year.

The 6,063-foot site is showing 21.4 inches as of March 29, the day after the site’s median is zero. The peak median at the site is 5.7 inches on Feb. 21, or more than a month ago, according to data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Because the site is at a lower altitude, all the snow generally has melted off by this time of year, but the last storm actually gave it a little boost. So, far the site peaked at 25 inches on March 10.

Ebbetts Pass at elevation 8,661 feet at the top of the East Fork has 75.2 inches of water locked in the snowpack or about 6 inches of the maximum 81.9 inches set April 22, 2017.

Carson Pass is at the top of the West Fork has 50.2 inches, according to snow telemetry. That represents a 2-inch dip and is a half-foot short of the 2017 maximum for March 29.

The Carson River Basin is running 197 percent of median.

Monitor Pass, which remains closed for the season, is running nearly four times median for March 29, with 54.9 inches, or nearly two feet more than the previous maximum median of 31.6 inches for the day.

The Walker River Basin, which includes Monitor, takes the crown for the watersheds at 204 percent of median on Wednesday. Only the Mono-Owens Lakes snowpack is higher with 235 percent.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment