April 2 Snow Survey Expected to Show Low Snow Water Content

When the Department of Water Resources conducts its fourth manual snow survey, on Monday, April 2, it expects the manual measurements of snowpack water content will corroborate the low electronic readings from remote sensors up and down the state’s mountain ranges.

Despite recent precipitation, electronic readings today indicate that statewide, water content in the snowpack is only 51% of normal for the date, and 50% of the average April 1 measurement when the snowpack is normally at its peak before the spring melt.

This winter’s unusually dry conditions to date have principally been caused by a high pressure ridge along California’s coast that has diverted most storms to the north.

One bright spot this year is the state’s good reservoir storage, due to conserved runoff from last winter’s storms. Statewide, reservoir storage is 106% of normal for the date.

Lake Oroville in Butte County, the State Water Project’s principal storage reservoir, is at 106 % of average for the date, while Lake Shasta north of Redding, the federal Central Valley Project’s largest reservoir, is at 99% of its normal storage level for the date. San Luis Reservoir in Merced County, an important storage reservoir south of the Delta, is at 94% of average for the date.

The snow survey will be conducted at 11 a.m. April 2 at Echo Summit near Lake Tahoe.

See DWR’s new Water Conditions webpage.