Snowpack news

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From the Vail Daily (Scott Condon): “The statewide average snowpack has shrunk from 20 percent above average on Jan. 1 to 17 percent above average on Feb. 1 to just 8 percent above average on March 1, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service…The loss in snowpack wasn’t so drastic in the Roaring Fork River Basin over the last month. For the basin as a whole, which includes the Fryingpan and Crystal River valleys, the snowpack was 22 percent above average Tuesday. The conservation service’s data showed the snowpack was 29 percent above average east of Aspen, near Grizzly Reservoir. It was 38 percent above average at North Lost Trail, near Marble. Statewide, this winter isn’t nearly as ferocious as last winter. The statewide snowpack is only 80 percent of what it was in 2007-’08, according to the conservation service.”

From the Greeley Tribune:

The state’s mountain snowpack took another hit in February and is now 20 percent below where it was a year ago, but remains 8 percent above the long-term average. The South Platte River is the only basin that is below the long-term average, said officials with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service…The good news is that latest statistics on reservoir storage shows slightly above average storage across the state. Only the Rio Grande basin is reporting storage volumes significantly below average, while near average storage is reported across most of the remainder of the state. The South Platte is 1 percent above the long-term average and 11 percent higher than March 1 of last year. Decreases in the percent of average snowpack were measured in all of Colorado’s major river basins in February, ranging from a 3 percentage point decrease in the North Platte basin, to a decrease of 16 percentage points in the Rio Grande basin. Southern Colorado reported some of the greatest decreases in snowpack percents of average including the Arkansas basin which decreased by 14 percentage points from last month.

From the Fort Morgan Times:

[Snow Survey Supervisor Mike Gillespie] said the amount of precipitation that falls in March, April and May often determines the moisture levels for the entire growing season. Since little moisture is expected to fall during these crucial spring months, Gillespie said, it is likely that snowpack levels will drop even further in the coming weeks and months. “We’re really dependent on spring moisture in this part of the state for a good runoff from that snowpack,” he said. “If we don’t see a wet spring, we’re typically looking at runoff that’s pretty mediocre.”

Morgan County Extension Agent Marlin Eisenach said that without precipitation this spring, the overly dry topsoil and sub soil in Morgan County will likely hurt both dryland and irrigated crop farmers. He said it would take about 12 inches of moist snow or one inch of rain to raise topsoil moisture content to an acceptable level, and even more to improve subsoil moisture.

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