Snowpack still above average

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By LENORE RUTHERFORD

Sunny skies and springlike afternoon temperatures haven't melted all of the high country snow.

The water content of the snowpack is still above average in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, despite a drier-than-average January and early February, PG&E said.

That's encouraging news for people who plan ahead for summer water supplies, but it's too soon to tell how much water will be available by the end of the stormy season.

"It's not looking good for more rain and snow right now," Kayda Muckey, a Sacramento forecaster with the National Weather Service, said, "but it could still happen. February is usually a wet month, or we could end up with a 'miracle March' with lots of rain and snow. It has happened before."

PG&E Hydrologist Terry Moore, based in San Andreas, heads a crew that measures the snowpack and its water content at the beginning of February, March and April every year to plan water supplies for the following summer.

His crew determined the Stanislaus River Watershed, which includes most of Tuolumne County, is at 107 percent of average, and the Mokelumne River Watershed, which includes most of Calaveras County, is 106 percent of average.

The National Weather Service forecast is for clear skies tonight and tomorrow.

A slight chance of showers is in the forecast for Friday, with the snow level dropping to near 4,000 feet, but dry skies are expected again Saturday through Tuesday.

Here are this year's Feb. 1 snow survey locations, snow depths, water contents and percentages of average on the Stanislaus River Watershed:

? Deadman Creek at 9,250 feet 56.5 inches snow, 22.2 inches water, 119 percent of average.

? Clark Fork Meadows at 8,900 feet 72.6 inches snow, 28.5 inches water, 131 percent of average.

? Lower Relief at 8,100 feet 60.9 inches snow, 24.7 inches water, 103 percent of average.

? Soda Creek Flat at 7,800 feet 32 inches snow, 13.1 inches water, 104 percent of average.

? Stanislaus Meadow at 7,750 feet 68.4 inches snow, 28.6 inches water, 99 percent of average.

11705004
The Union Democrat
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