Carson could see highest stream flows in century |

Carson could see highest stream flows in century

Staff Reports

Stream flows on the east and west forks of the Carson River could approach levels not seen in a century, according to data issued by the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

A wet April could bring up to 459,000 acre-feet of water down the East Fork, more than occurred in 2011 or 1983. The record is 467,000 acre-feet set in 1890.

On the West Fork, the record is 153,000 acre-feet, set in 1907. A wet April could tie that record.

April is generally the point at which the snowpack stops accumulating and starts releasing water, marking the beginning of irrigation season.

The first storm of April brought an inch of precipitation to Minden and 21 inches of snow to Heavenly Ski Resort.

In the most recent storm the East Fork of the Carson River entering Carson Valley crested at 1:30 p.m. Friday at 11.68 feet, more than a foot short of the 13-foot flood stage.

The Carson River Basin has twice its average snowpack for this time of year.

On Monday, Natural Resource Conservation Service Hydrologist Jeff Anderson is scheduled to conduct a snow tube measurement at Mount Rose and then report on the status of the region’s snowpack.

“The Mt. Rose Ski Area SNOTEL site broke a new April 1 record with a snow depth of 194 inches, water content at 83.7 inches and 227 percent of normal. This was the most snow for April 1 at that site for any year,” said Anderson. “With this weekend’s storm, we’ll see on Monday if the measurement breaks the all-time record for Mt. Rose. This storm could push 2017 past the record if we get 3 feet of new snow, as predicted.”

That storm is forecast to bring rain to Carson Valley starting Tuesday afternoon. After a short break, Wednesday through Friday could see a foot of snow in the Sierra and rain in the Valley. Wind may have a greater impact with 40 mph gusts expected on Thursday.