The California Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) first snow survey of the 2009/2010 precipitation season indicates snow water content is 85 percent of normal for the date, statewide. This time last year, snow water content was 76 percent of normal statewide. Although encouraging, there still is much catch-up needed with respect to the State’s water supply.

Electronic sensor readings show northern Sierra snow water equivalents at 77 percent of normal for this date, central Sierra at 85 percent, and southern Sierra at 99 percent. The sensor readings are available here.

Although the recent survey shows the water content is higher than last year at this time, it's too early to ascertain whether improved figures will translate into a better water year than the state experienced last year, DWR reported in a news release.

Snow water content measurements help hydrologists prepare water supply forecasts as well as provide hydroelectric power companies and the recreation industry with needed data. Monitoring is coordinated by the DWR as part of the multi-agency California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program. Surveyors from more than 50 agencies and utilities visit hundreds of snow measurement courses during the winter to assess the amount of water in the snowpack.

Source: Fresno County Farm Bureau