Snowpack news

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From the Loveland Reporter Herald: “The amount of water in snow that supplies the Big Thompson River — and the city of Loveland — is below average at three of four measurement sites. Measurements taken Monday, after a recent snowstorm, recorded the snow water equivalent as: 105 percent of average at Bear Lake; 97 percent of average at Willow Park; 79 percent at Hidden Valley; 45 percent at Deer Ridge.”

From the Sky-Hi Daily News:

…snowpack in the high-elevation mountains above Middle Park now ranges from 88 to 127 percent of the 30-year average, down sharply since March 1…

“This resumes the pattern of weak spring snows observed during 2005 to 2007, despite the fact that March is historically the snowiest month,” said Mark “Doctor” Volt, District Conservationist. “The April 1 readings are the most critical for predicting runoff and summer water supplies, as most of our high country snowpack peaks during April.” The highest local readings are in the Blue River sub-basin (average 115 percent), and the lowest readings are in the northern drainages…

Snow density is averaging 31 percent, which means that for a foot of snow there are 3.8 inches of water.

In Colorado, only the northwestern river basins are above average. The highest snowpack, relative to normal, is in the Little Snake sub-basin of the Yampa River, and the Blue River and Roaring Fork sub-basins of the Colorado River. Reported readings for the major river basins in Colorado are as follows: The upper Colorado River Basin averages 108 percent; Gunnison River Basin, 92 percent; South Platte River Basin, 89 percent; Yampa River Basin, 104 percent; White River Basin, 101 percent; Arkansas River Basin, 96 percent; Upper Rio Grande Basin, 92 percent; San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan River Basins 88 percent; and the Laramie and North Platte River Basins, 96 percent of average for this time of year.

From Fort Collins Now:

The water content of the snowpack on top of Cameron Pass, for example, was 29.4 inches, or 108 percent of the 30-year average for that site. There was an average of 83 inches of snow atop Cameron Pass. At one other site in the Poudre Canyon, Joe Wright Reservoir, which is just east of Cameron Pass off of Colo. 14, the water content is 112 percent of average.

From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent:

Statewide snowpack was down to 96 percent of average as of April 1, according to an (NRCS) report. It’s the first statewide reading to be below average this season. On Jan. 1, statewide snowpack was 120 percent of average.

One exception to the trend is the Upper Colorado River Basin. It’s snowpack was 109 percent of a 29-year average Friday morning. The Roaring Fork River Basin had more snow at 118 percent of average. A monitoring site on Independence Pass had 119 percent of its average snowpack…

This year’s below average statewide snowpack on April 1 adds to a series of drier than average years. Below average statewide snowpack readings have been measured that day in 10 of the last 12 years in Colorado, the NRCS report says. “In addition, the April first snowpack reading is the most critical for the state’s water managers. With snowpack totals nearing their seasonal maximum accumulations on this date, these readings are the best indication of what the state can expect for most of its yearly runoff and water supplies,” the report says. However, Western Slope areas served by the Colorado River will probably have plenty of water this year. The basin’s water supply forecasts for April through July are mostly average or slightly above average, Gillespie said.

From the Denver Post (Michael Booth):

Snowpack in the state’s major river basins was at 120 percent of the historical average on Jan. 1. But that key number dropped to 96 percent of the average recorded in past years on April 1, said Mike Gillespie of the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service in Lakewood…

The South Platte River basin, where Denver draws a good portion of its water, was at 86 percent of normal snowpack on Wednesday. Only the Colorado and Yampa/White systems in northwest Colorado stayed above average. Denver Water officials aren’t pessimistic about the upcoming watering season, saying their reservoirs are in good shape and the river-basin snowpack is enough to keep lakes high. The department draws another major portion of its water from the Colorado River system. “We’re optimistic about the water-supply situation, but we’re monitoring it closely,” said Denver Water spokeswoman Stacy Chesney. “The recent moisture we’ve had has been very helpful. Systemwide, we’re at 97 percent of normal snowpack.”

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