LAKE TAHOE and#8212; It wasnand#8217;t a and#8220;Miracle March,and#8221; but last monthand#8217;s snowfall was somewhat better than expected after a drier-than-average winter.
and#8220;The water content we just measured is down in the lower 10 percent of years,and#8221; said Frank Gehrke, chief of California Cooperative Snow Surveys, at Mondayand#8217;s monthly snow measurement in Meyers. and#8220;But clearly weand#8217;re making an improvement over Marchand#8217;s measurements.and#8221;
Mondayand#8217;s snow survey showed the snowpack had 31 inches of depth and 11 inches of water content, just 39 percent of the long-term average for the station. Across California, the snowpack has 55 percent of the April 1 average, according to a statement released by the Department of Water Resources.
and#8220;The take-home message is that weand#8217;ve had a dry winter and, although good reservoir storage will lessen impacts this summer, we need to be prepared for a potentially dry 2013,and#8221; said DWR Director Mark Cowin in the statement.
Gehrke said the recent snowfall will slow down the spring runoff, making it easier for water managers to plan for the year ahead.
and#8220;It really knocks the edge off the melt,and#8221; he said. and#8220;If it comes off slowly and gradually itand#8217;s a better circumstance.and#8221;
April is typically a low snowfall month, he added.
The mountain snowpack normally provides about one third of the water for Californiaand#8217;s households, industries and farms.
Due to runoff from last winter, California reservoir storage is more than 100 percent of average for the date.
DWR estimates that it will be able to deliver 50 percent of the more than 4 million acre-feet requested this year. Last year, the agency was able to deliver 80 percent of the water requested.
The final survey of the season will take place on May 1.