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2019 Klamath Mountain Snowpack Updates

From the Klamath National Forest:

YREKA, Calif. — The Klamath National Forest has completed the April snow surveys. These measurements are a part of the statewide California Cooperative Snow Survey program, which helps the State forecast the amount of water available for agriculture, power generation, recreation, and stream flow releases later in the year. The April snow measurements for 2019 (see results below) reveal a Scott River watershed snow pack that is above average. Most sites rank in the top ten for snow depth over the length of their respective data sets. The series of storms which began in late-February and continued through March contributed to the strength of the 2019 snowpack.

Snow surveys are conducted monthly during the winter and spring months (February-May). Forest Service employees travel to established sites in the headwaters of the Scott River watershed to collect information about snow accumulation in the mountains of the Klamath National Forest. The newest measuring site at Scott Mountain has been monitored for over thirty 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.

April 1st is an important date for surveying snow because early April is historically when the snowpack is at its maximum; this date has the greatest weight when the State forecasts annual water availability. Because of the extraordinary snowfall this winter, the Klamath National Forest went to three additional locations to gather data for April to supplement the regular five Scott River watershed snow measurement sites. Of these snow survey sites, Etna Mountain and Box Camp are in the Scott River drainage, and Wolford Cabin is within the Trinity River basin.

Preston Peak in the Siskiyou Wilderness. Photo by Michael Kauffmann.

The height of snow and SWE are measured by a snow sampling tube with a cutter end that is driven through the snow pack, measuring depth. The snow core is then weighed to determine the water content. 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