Snowpack improves, but it's still short of normal

The good news is that the local mountain snowpack has thrown on another blanket of snow to add to its thin coat measured a month ago.

The bad news? The end of February snow survey taken today on four sites on the Siskiyou Summit and Mount Ashland area indicates that March and April will have to pile it on to bring the snow depth up to normal.

"Last month we were at 46 percent of normal (for snow-water content) for the four sites I measure — today we are at 63 percent," said snow ranger Steve Johnson in the Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

But the snow-water content — the amount of water contained in the snow — in the mountain snowpack ringing the Rogue/Umpqua and Klamath basins remained at 86 percent of normal today, mirroring the same percentage recorded at the end of January, he noted.

"So the Siskiyous caught up a bit and the Cascades fell behind a little," he said.

In fact, the Siskiyou Summit, at 4,600 feet above sea level, which had a scant snowpack last month, now has 17 inches of snow for 100 percent of average. The snow-water content is 6.8 inches, 128 percent of normal.

The mountain snow pack serves as a frozen "water bank" that determines how much water will be available during spring and summer snow melt for stream flows and reservoir storage.

— Paul Fattig

More details: Saturday's Mail Tribune

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