Weather, or Not – Deb Murphy

 photo by Andrew Kirk

 

Precipitation in the Eastern Sierra is one of those good-news-bad-news deals. We need it for
our environment, our aquifers, our ski resorts, and our agriculture. For Owens Valley residents,
who generally appreciate the value of moisture falling from the sky, it still takes some
adjustments.

As of mid-day Sunday, Mammoth Mountain had added 21-inches to its already epic 100-plus
inches season snow total with another 10-16 inches expected to fall Sunday. Dennis Mattinson,
KSRW’s weather guru, reported the preliminary snow total estimates at 38 to 46-inches at the
Main Lodge and 50- to 60-inches at the Summit.

Owens Valley storm totals are still unknown, with the most recent figures recorded nearly a
week ago, December 6, on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power website. As of last
Tuesday, the all-important snow pillows were at 116-percent of normal with a 5.9-inch water
content. The graph line for this rain-year tops out at the same point as the Department’s
average calculation.

The statistics take on a much more dramatic turn when comparing rain fall and snow pillow
calculations to long-term averages. As of December 6, snow pillows are from 100 to 132-
percent of normal to date from Gem Pass to Cottonwood Lakes. As for rainfall, the range is 43-
percent of normal to date in Independence to 122-percent in Long Valley.

Mattinson doesn’t see anything “big” coming through the Eastside this week, but there is a
“possible cut-off low with light amounts of snow for the mountains Wednesday through
Thursday. Then, the week of Dec. 19 th looks like a drier pattern is possible.

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