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Snow and Water levels 2011

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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby kpeter » Sat May 14, 2011 10:50 pm

This seems to be the best page to see all the snow gauges that are actually working all at once:

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/PAGE6

Looking at the highest elevation stations (+9500) that are working, the alpine melt this last week has slowed. Some show no change over seven days (Slide Canyon shows MORE water, Blackcap Basin and Leavitt Lake have barely budged.) A couple show significant losses last week (Dana Meadows is down from 34" to 30" of water, South Lake is down from 21 to 17).

The average appears to be in the 5% range. That is slow. The current cool front (and even more snow?) won't help matters.

We are still melting faster than the snail's pace 1998 (20 days behind average), but not as fast as the very quick 2006 (similar snowpack but melted in time for an average start to the season.)

My best guess from the vantage of mid May: a season about 10 days behind average. I'll make another guesstimate at the end of May. Hopefully then we will have a much clearer idea.



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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby rlown » Sun May 15, 2011 2:07 pm

Looks like the CDEC TES station at 9945' got almost a foot, and White Wolf (WHW) got 6" with this latest storm, and it's not over. This impacts the Tioga road mainly. Since they're not plowing today, I'm guessing they now have cleanup to do before they can proceed, and the charcoal dust they put up to help melt the snow is now covered.
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby oldranger » Sun May 15, 2011 2:44 pm

Paying attention to day to day variations in snow pack is kind of like making investment decisions on previous days stock market!

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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby kpeter » Sun May 15, 2011 6:56 pm

oldranger wrote:Paying attention to day to day variations in snow pack is kind of like making investment decisions on previous days stock market!

That is quite nicely put!

What I was doing, though, was comparing May 14, 2011 with May 14, 2006 and May 14, 1998.

I'm not so worried that this snowfall will add a lot of water content, but I am worried that it is made possible by a cooling trend that has lasted too long already. Every day it does not warm up we edge closer and closer to the 1998 model and further and further from the 2006 model.

I really hate the 1998 model (20 days late) and hope it will not become that bad this year. Since I'm a teacher, I cannot shift my season later to compensate--I have to be done by mid August regardless.
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby njbeast » Mon May 16, 2011 7:49 am

kpeter,
Am I reading this correctly...it snowed 19 inches at Leavitt Lake over the weekend???
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby John Dittli » Mon May 16, 2011 7:54 am

yes. And perhaps another 10" or so this week.

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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby njbeast » Mon May 16, 2011 8:11 am

I'm planning a trip up there with a buddy to do some fishing...caught a bunch of stunted brookies and a few rainbows last July. We are planning to make some side trips to both Koenig and Latobie for Goldens...both are over 10,000 feet....looks like snow shoes and ice axes are in my future...
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon May 16, 2011 8:24 am

kpeter wrote:I really hate the 1998 model (20 days late) and hope it will not become that bad this year. Since I'm a teacher, I cannot shift my season later to compensate--I have to be done by mid August regardless.

Ugh...that's too bad. It isn't looking good.

And by the way, why do schools start so early these days? (When I was a kid, it was always after Labor Day.) Does the educational system have no respect for the backpacking season?
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby ERIC » Mon May 16, 2011 11:46 am

richlong8 wrote:I did not see this link listed, so I will post it. It is the Active Snow Depth Sensor Page that lists them all, and is a good jumping off point for those who might be newer to HST.

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/misc/SnowDepth.html


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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby ERIC » Mon May 16, 2011 11:58 am

rlown wrote:
richlong8 wrote:I notice from time to time CDEC stations will cease to give readings, or show erratic spikes that could not be reliable data. High winds, heavy snow, battery problems, electronic failure, lightning, solar power, mechanical stress- These stations are subjected to all sorts of factors, aren't they!? I am sometimes surprised the system works as well as it does.


Very true. I know for a fact that the CDEC TES station got struck by lightning a couple years back, only because I emailed CDEC to see when the station would come back online.

It also started to read erratic snow depth this year, when the snow got deeper than the station was tall. When it's snowing, the depth sensor reads 249.

Still fun to watch, and very glad the sensors exist.


richlong8 gives a really good list. I have two more to add. One which is common is known as ice bridging, where you get snow, then rain, then cold....then whatever....but in a nutshell the symptom is layers of ice with air pockets underneath resulting in inaccurate depth readings. Another thing which I believe can affect some of the sensors located on or nearby slopes is lateral movement during melt resulting in rapid changes in reported data.
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby Cross Country » Mon May 16, 2011 10:07 pm

When my school district had us start before Labor Day it cut out one trip per year from then on. Booo.
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby rlown » Mon May 16, 2011 10:27 pm

ERIC wrote:richlong8 gives a really good list. I have two more to add. One which is common is known as ice bridging, where you get snow, then rain, then cold....then whatever....but in a nutshell the symptom is layers of ice with air pockets underneath resulting in inaccurate depth readings. Another thing which I believe can affect some of the sensors located on or nearby slopes is lateral movement during melt resulting in rapid changes in reported data.


I thought they tried to put the sensors in a field rather than on a slope? I can see how the sensors get confused on the thaw/freeze thing. My only reference was seeing the snow field up around summit lake near piute pass. That seems to be a "manual" sensor though.
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