We have good news, and we have bad news. The good news is that for the Mono Basin, this year’s snowpack could have been worse. The bad news is that it is a another dry year—and in the Mono Basin, 2012–2014 looks like it will be the driest 3 consecutive years on record.
California’s April 1, 2014 snow surveys have been completed, and the statewide average snow water content is 25% of average. The lowest is the Scott River Basin at 7% of average. In the Mono Basin, it is 57%. The next highest basin total is the Truckee River Basin at 43% of average.
Even within the Mono Basin the snow course totals vary, however, the lowest total for any single survey is Gem Lake at 45% of average. It seems like the Mono Basin was in the sweet spot for storms this winter, and lucked out in that its driest single snow course got more (in percent of average) than the wettest basin anywhere else in California. In the Mono Basin, Gem Pass was 50% of average, Saddlebag Lake was 56% of average, Ellery Lake was 64% of average, and Tioga Pass was 69% of average.
The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s runoff forecast for the 2014 runoff year is 48% of average. We can tell from the snow surveys that Lee Vining Creek will have much higher runoff (in percent of average) than Rush Creek this summer.