USDA: Lots of snow this winter, but not breaking any records so far
Newcastle and surrounding areas have seen a significant amount of snowfall so far this season, according to the Black Hills snow course readings from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Areas closest to Newcastle have had well over the 30-year average for snow water equivalent.
Snow water equivalent or SWE is a common snow pack measurement for the amount of water contained in the snow pack. It can be thought of as the depth of water that would theoretically result if the snow pack were melted instantaneously, according to Jason Nehl, a USDA resource specialist out of Sundance.
Little Bear Run, at an elevation of 6,240 feet, had a snow depth as of March 1 of 20.3 inches or 4.2 inches of SWE. The 30-year median for the area is 3.3 inches of SWE, and last year’s SWE was 2.8 inches. This means that the current SWE is 127 percent of the 30-year median.