measuring snowpack

The Eastern Sierra gained just shy of eight inches of water content over the past week with Bishop and Big Pine almost tied for most rain at 249- and 246-percent of normal rainfall to date.

The weighted average of Owens Valley snow pillows is 47.4-inches of water content, 243 of normal to date. Even better, those 47.4-inches represent 209-percent of normal at the end of the rainy season, April 1.

All this evokes a mixed reaction: Oh joy, the drought is easing and will this weather ever stop.  The Inyo/Mono “rainy season” basically extends from October 1 to April, so it may not stop for
another month. However, the National Weather Service shows sunny conditions through Saturday giving locals a few more days to finish shoveling.

The current precipitation conditions chart on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s website went nearly vertical in early January, indicated modest increases through mid-
February and then went vertical again over the last week in February. The wettest year, 2016-17, peaked out just above 50-inches of water content. Other weather websites indicate a
positive shift in the degree of the East Side’s drought situation, but are not as current or as specific as LADWP’s numbers issued Tuesday, February 28, evening.

Here’s how the rainfall percentages to date pan out, going from north to south:

Cain Ranch, near Mono Lake, is at 224-percent; Long Valley, 231-percent; Bishop, 249-percent, Big Pine, 246-percent; Independence, 189-percent and South Haiwee, 224-percent.

Snow pillow percentages of normal to date are, starting at Gem Pass at 205-percent, Mammoth Pass at 196-percent and measuring just short of 69-inches in depth, Rock Creek at 212-percent, Sawmill and Big Pine Creek at 285-percent and Cottonwood Lakes at 261-percent.

This year could break the record 2016-17 wettest season record with one more “decent” storm.

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