Scott Valley

Klamath National Forest’s Snow Survey Season Ends at 97%

 Scott Mountain site with the snow sensor hut exhibits an above average snow load for May, but it is melting fast. Credit: USDA Forest Service

Yreka, Calif., May 3, 2024— The Klamath National Forest has completed the May 1stsnow 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.

Generally warm daytime temperatures in April have well advanced the spring snow melt, with the lowest elevation snow course – Dynamite Meadow – already snow-free. The snowpack at higher elevation locations, however, continues to persist, although perhaps for not much longer. According to measurements taken for the May survey, the snowpack is at 94% of the long-term average snow height (snow depth) and at 97% of the long-term Snow Water Equivalent (“SWE”, measure of water content) across all survey points (see results table above).

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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