RENO – “Winter continues to flex its muscles,” the Natural Resources Conservation Service noted this week when it released its March 1 water supply outlook for Nevada.
“Across northern Nevada, streamflow forecasts are far above average and forecasted volumes are well beyond the amount needed to fill reservoirs,” the report said. “Expect streams to have prolonged high flows and snow to linger on the mountains into summer.”
The report noted that the past two years have produced “Januburied” and “Flooduary” (January and February 2017), then Miracle March (March 2018). Now, February 2019 has turned into another record setter.
“February 2019 produced staggering snowfall totals, incredibly light powder, lots of shoveling, and plans to keep ski lifts running past Independence Day,” said NRCS Nevada State Hydrologist Jeff Anderson. “NRCS data shows that a number of SNOTEL and snow courses across the region set new records for the biggest increase in snow water for the month of February.”
Surveyors sampled snow 13.5 feet deep at Mt. Rose Ski Area, for example. Squaw Valley ski resort in the Tahoe region set a new monthly snowfall record at 315 inches.
Precipitation amounts in February ranked second highest or highest on record at a number of SNOTEL sites across the region. Monthly precipitation in February was twice normal across the Northern Great Basin, Humboldt, and Clover Valley basins, bringing water year totals to 110-123 percent of average.
The Owyhee Basin and Eastern Nevada had slightly less than twice normal for the month and have water year totals at 108 and 124 percent respectively.
March precipitation was nearly three times the monthly average in the Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Carson and Walker basins, bringing water year totals to 133-146 percent of average.
March 1 streamflow forecasts are now greater than 160 percent of average in the Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Carson and Walker Basins. Forecasts in the Humboldt Basin range from 115-150 percent of average. Forecasts in Eastern Nevada are between 115-125 percent.