The May 1 snow survey totals, the last one of the 2015-2016 season, were released earlier this week and the Sierra drainages were still sporting some high-elevation snow pack. That’s good news in contrast to the nearly nonexistent snow for May 1 during the last four seasons.
Northern basins like the Sacramento River (Shasta) and Feather River (Lower Lassen Peak) reported locales still above the 100 percent norm for May 1. Even Bond Pass at 9,300 feet in the Tuolumne River Basin and much father south reported 103 percent. The snow is lingering with lots of water content so that bodes well for filling California reservoirs that store Sierra Nevada runoff.
Panther Meadow (8,600 feet) in the Kaweah River basin checks in with 82 percent; Farewell Gap (9,500 feet) in Mineral King is reporting 74 percent; Hockett Meadows (8,500 feet) has 53 percent.
There is water in the nearby higher elevations. With the prospect for more rain and snow in May, the near-normal runoff will seem extra impressive because it has been since 2011 since the last May-June normal runoff.
According to Phil Deffenbaugh, Lake Kaweah general manager, the lake is expected to fill with all that runoff in early June. The current storage as of Thursday, May 5, is 112,800 acre feet; capacity is 185,000 acre feet.