FORT JONES, CA – Employees of the Klamath National Forest have completed the May 1st snow surveys. These measurements are a part of the statewide California Cooperative Snow Survey program, to help the State forecast the amount of water available for agriculture, power generation, recreation, and stream flow releases later in the year.
According to the current measurements, the snowpack has a below-average depth of 19%, and a below-average water content of 21%, as assessed against historical averages for May 1st. The May snowpack is much decreased from the near average conditions of April. Although there were several April storms, unseasonably warm temperatures for much of the month created circumstances that allowed for a relatively rapid snow melt compared to normal.
The snow surveys are measured monthly during the winter and spring months (February to May). District employees travel to specific sites to collect information about snow accumulation in the mountains of the Klamath National Forest, west of Scott Valley. The measuring sites are designated locations that quantify snow depth and moisture content. Snow site locations vary, with some located close to forest roads while others require hours of travel by snowshoe and snowmobile.
Snow depth and water content are measured by a snow sampling tube with a cutter end that is driven through the snow pack, measuring depth. The snow core is then weighed to determine the water content (water equivalent). The information is forwarded to the State of California, where the data is compiled with other snow depth reports and becomes part of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys program. The data is managed by the California Department of Water Resources, and more information is available on their website at http://cdec.water.ca.gov/snow.
All news releases, including past snow survey results, are posted on the Klamath National Forest’s website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/newsarchives/klamath/newsarchive.