Last week's snow fall equaled a great start for ski resorts.
David Rizzardo, Chief of Snow Surveys from the State of California Department of Water Resources, said it was “good news for the ski resorts and the seasonal economy that depends on the snow related recreation.”
Over the weekend, South Lake Tahoe received 6.8 inches, Tahoe City received 11 inches with higher amounts across the summits. But, this fall won't be averaged into snowpack measurement.
So, why does the Department of Water Resources wait until Dec. 1st to measure snowpack?
The department won't factor in the Thanksgiving weekend snow amounts simply because it was too early and can be misleading. If they were to include last weekend’s snow totals to the average, the numbers would misrepresent the area that generally does not expect a lot of snow. Early season snow can melt away. The percent of average for the date and the percent of average for the season may be skewed.
“In other words, 3-4 inches of water content may show up at 250+% of average which can be misleading,” says Rizzardo. That is why they wait until Dec. 1st, to update snowpack information.
On Thursday, Dec 1st, the region will get a better understanding of the snow water equivalent (SWE), the amount of water within the snowpack. Think of SWE as the depth of the water, if the snowpack was melted entirely.
Rizzardo did a preliminary analysis of Thanksgiving weekend’s snowfall and said, “the amount of snow that did fall was a healthy amount and if it does not melt away [as can happen early in the season] then it would possibly contribute 5-10 percent to the expected April 1 peak snow pack.”
Don’t worry, new snowpack numbers will be in tomorrow. For now, Thanksgiving weekend’s snowfall was a great and welcome start to the ski season.
“Let’s hope we continue this trend throughout winter,” Rizzardo said.
Check out the latest snow information at http://cdec.water.ca.gov/snow/current/snow/index.html