Latest News, Scott Valley

KNF April Snow Pack At 111% Of The Historic Average

Forest Service News Release
Cover photo : Etna Mountain snow course show tracks in the snow surrounded by snow-covered trees. Credit: USDA Forest Service

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

Yreka, Calif., April 8, 2024— The Klamath National Forest has completed the April 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.

The variability observed thus far this season continued through March. While there were times of seasonal weather and decent mountain precipitation, there were also many days of unseasonably warm temperatures. The higher elevations have been able to maintain a decent snowpack even as locations lower on the mountains are showing indications of spring melt-off. Overall, the cumulative seasonal snow loading appears to be average to slightly above for the time of year. According to measurements taken for the April survey, the snowpack is at 111% of the historic average snow height (snow depth) and at 107% of the historic Snow Water Equivalent (“SWE”, measure of water content) across all survey points (see results table).

April 1st is an important date for surveying snow because early April is historically when the snowpack is at its maximum; and this date has the greatest weight when the State forecasts annual water availability. To gain additional data for April, three extra locations are added to the surveys for this month to supplement the usual five Scott River watershed snow measurement sites. Of these, Etna Mountain and Box Camp are also in the Scott River drainage, and Wolford Cabin is within the Trinity River basin. These additional sites are generally considered too remote or difficult to access on a monthly basis.

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 35 years; the oldest site at Middle Boulder has been monitored for over 70 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 SWE 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

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