Federal Efforts in Forecasting Snow Depth and Run-Off Information

CED-78-43: Published: Jan 27, 1978. Publicly Released: Jan 27, 1978.

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The hydrometeorological data used in making water supply forecasts, including measurements of the snow water equivalent, precipitation, stream flow, and temperature are collected by several Federal agencies.

In only one instance were agencies duplicating data collection efforts. However, the Soil Conservation Service and the National Weather Service have been preparing duplicate water supply forecasts in the Western United States for 30 years. Several other agencies prepare water supply forecasts to meet their own operational requirements, including the Bonneville Power Administration, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Corps of Engineers. The Soil Conservation Service is responsible for gathering snow data and providing it to the public and to other Government agencies. The Service planned to automate its snow survey program using SNOTEL, telemetered snowpack and related hydrometerological data from mountainous regions of the West. The proposed SNOTEL system was not completed on time because of: late deliveries from suppliers, interference from nearby power lines at one station, insufficient air conditioning installed at base stations, and the inability of batteries at remote sites to supply sufficient power when temperatures were very low.

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