Miraculously the snowpack is back

Miracle March brings much needed snow for fading snowpacks and dropping water levels.

Excitement brings people outside and through the new snowpack.

Spring time in the Sierras is traditionally expressed with misleading weather.  After a subtle February the vanished basin snowpack returned after a batch of March storms.

“The early storms improved the snow pack 200 percent for the month in mountains around the basin,” according to Tim Bardely, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hydrologist.  “These storms brought Tahoe back up to the average snowpack.”

The Tahoe basin recorded twice the amount of March’s average after the early storms with a recorded 14 inches of precipitation.  Usually during this time of year, the snowpack numbers peak, but now basin coverage is at more than average due to the March storms.

“Even though the beach weather was nice, I am glad the snow has returned for spring snowboarding!” said Junior Jada Garcia.

March granted local resorts with improved snow conditions for their spring season. After the two week storm, resorts reported 50 to 100 inches of snow on their bases. ‘Miracle March’ is ensuring success for resorts as it will prolong their seasons.

“As a result of El Niño and snowfall topping 36 cumulative feet for the season, the resort anticipates a long spring skiing and snowboarding season,” said a Squaw Valley media press release.  “Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has committed to offering the longest season in Tahoe and will offer skiing and riding into May as long as weather and conditions permit.”

The El Niño winter has thrown forecasters for a loop, as predicted systems have been far stronger than initially expected. The conditions have moved precipitation charts to average after preceding drought years.

“No two El Niños are the same and the strength and immensity of this El Niño came as a surprise,” said Bardsley. “Based on predictions this El Nino was much different than expected.”

Looking forward, Bardsley also explained that the spring runoff will aid the Truckee River and bring the lake close to the natural rim. While the month of April is projected to have wet conditions, it is forecasted to be warm.