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May 1st Snow Survey Results for Scott River sub-basin Season Ends Above Average

Article By, Public Affairs Officer: Kimberly DeVall

May 1st snow survey results for Scott River sub-basin

Yreka, Calif., May 8, 2023— The Klamath National Forest has completed the May 1st snow surveys. These measurements are a part of the statewide California Cooperative Snow Survey program, which helps the state forecast the quantity of water available for agriculture, power generation, recreation, and stream flow releases later in the year.

Spring has arrived, along with warmer temperatures. Despite elevated temperatures, including unseasonable highs during the last week of April, the snow pack continues to persist in the high country even as it melts from the lower slopes. According to measurements taken for the May survey, the snowpack is at 170% of the long-term average snow height (snow depth) and at 159% of the long-term Snow Water Equivalent across all survey points (see results table).

As per request of the California Department of Water Resources, an attempt was made to resample sites usually reserved for April. Due to scheduling and staff availability, only Etna Mountain was able to be revisited. Because May is only occasionally sampled for this site, no long-term average can be determined. However, it clearly exhibits the same elevated snow pack as the regularly visited locations.

Snow surveys are conducted monthly during the winter and spring months (February through May). Forest Service employees travel to established sites in the headwaters of the Scott River watershed to take measurements. The newest measuring site at Scott Mountain has been monitored for over thirty-five years; the oldest site at Middle Boulder has been monitored for over seventy years. Some sites are located close to Forest roads with good access, while others require hours of travel by snowshoe and/or snowmobile.

The height of snow and Snow Water Equivalent (“SWE”, measure of water content) are measured by a snow sampling tube with a cutter end that is driven through the snowpack, measuring depth. The snow core is then weighed to determine the water content (SWE). The information is forwarded to the state of California, where the data is compiled with other snow depth reports and becomes part of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys program.

The data is managed by the California Department of Water Resources; more information is available on their website at

May 1st, 2023, Snow Survey Results Scott River Sub-Basin *screenshot PR

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