Near-record Sierra snowpack — 185 percent of average

Our "Tahoe in the News" section includes newspaper articles about Tahoe environmental issues.

San Francisco Chronicle | Kurtis Alexander | Mar 2, 2017

Photo: Tal Simon | San Francisco Chronicle

With snowdrifts rising as high as several stories, California water surveyors trekked into the wintry Sierra on Wednesday to confirm the most snow the 400-mile-long mountain range has seen in decades.

The ritual first-of-the-month measurement found snowpack at Phillips Station, south of Lake Tahoe in El Dorado County, at 179 percent of average for the date — a reading that required state officials to stick their long cylindrical gauge much deeper than usual into the blanket of icy white.

While the lofty measurement at the station came as no surprise, since a network of real-time sensors put Sierra-wide snowpack at 185 percent of average on Wednesday morning, the number remains extraordinary after historically low readings during five years of drought.

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