Sierra snow half normal after dry early 2013

RENO, Nev. — Consecutive dry winters in the Sierra are setting the stage for another summer drought across much of western and northern Nevada.

Significant snowfall in January turned into some of the driest weather on record during the last two months, leaving the mountain snowpack at about half of normal when the traditional season ended Monday.

Dan Greenlee, a snow surveyor for the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, told the Reno Gazette-Journal (http://tinyurl.com/bpoc8rc ) that April 1 typically is the peak of the winter snowpack, so it's "a pretty sad ending."

Sierra snowpack rated between 50 percent and 70 percent of normal across the region. Lake Tahoe's basin was a "pretty dismal 52 percent of average," Greenlee said.

He said some of the poorest readings were on Tahoe's northwest shore at Truckee and Tahoe City, Calif., where the latest three-month period was the worst in more than a century.

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