Nevada’s mountains are flush with water and summer streamflow records are possible based on the May 1 forecasts published in the latest Nevada NRCS Water Supply Outlook Report. Snowpack measurements at the end of April set records on Carson Pass and Sonora Pass, with data for these snow courses going back to 1930 and 1954 respectively. Other SNOTEL sites above 8,000 feet are also breaking records, including sites at Mt Rose Ski Area and Ebbetts Pass. Water-year-to-date precipitation is currently 200-220 percent of average in the Tahoe, Truckee, Carson and Walker basins; 142-148 percent in the Northern Great Basin, Humboldt, Owyhee, Snake, Clover Valley basins; and 118 percent in Eastern Nevada.
“This year, 2017, is already the wettest water year on record in the Lake Tahoe and Walker basins,” said Jeff Anderson, state hydrologist for NRCS Nevada. “The Carson and Truckee basins are getting very close to their water year precipitation records as well.”
Streamflow forecasts in the report predict the total volume of water that will flow past a stream gage for a specific period of time. Forecasts for the May-July time frame range from 182-424 percent of average for points in the Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Carson and Walker basins. Forecasts for the Humboldt River are 209-302 percent of average, while its tributaries are forecast for 167-225 percent. Creeks in eastern Nevada are forecast from 142-214 percent. Summer streamflow volumes could break records on the Truckee, Carson and West Walker rivers
Back country travelers in the mountains should be prepared to encounter snow and high creeks this summer.
To access the full May 1 Nevada Water Supply Outlook Report, visit the NRCS Snow Survey Webpage: www.nv.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/.