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Not enough snow to make a snowman

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Sierra snow
By this time in the season, this road in Truckee should be completely covered with snow. As of last Friday, only a dusting covered the asphalt. (Chris Streeter/Flickr)

Earmuffs, ski resorts. Sure, you’ve got plenty of man-made snow, which I’m sure you’ve fluffed, groomed and shaped into a veritable skiable snowcone.

Mother nature, on the other hand, isn’t helping one bit. The first snow survey of the year in the Sierra turned up less than two-tenths of an inch of snow water content. That’s barely enough to chill a 12-pack, let alone carve ribbons into with your freshly-waxed Burton.

The man with the snow gauge had to hunt around for a patch of snow he could actually measure. What he found at Phillips Station near Sierra at Tahoe was the smallest amount of snow recorded there at this time since 1964.

Several of this year’s survey locations recorded zero snow whatsoever. Zilch.

Overall, water content in the Sierra is at 19 percent of normal.¬†David Rizzardo, chief of the Department of Water Resources’ snow survey section, summed it up pretty well:

“There isn’t really much up there to talk about. There is stuff in patches here and there under the trees, but it is pretty dry in most visible places.”

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as assistant professor at San Francisco State University.

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