Snowpack news

A picture named nrcssnowpack01052010

From The Aspen Times:

The snowpack ranged from a low of just 72 percent of average in the northwest part of the state to 97 percent in the southwest, according to the conservation service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Aspen area’s snowpack mirrored that of the state overall, at 85 percent of average. The conservation service measures snow at seven stations in the Roaring Fork watershed. Its data shows the snowpack is lowest in the Fryingpan drainage and highest in the Crystal drainage. The snowpack is just 35 percent of average at Nast Lake in the Fryingpan Valley; 62 percent at the Kiln site; and 95 percent up higher in elevation at Ivanhoe. In the Crystal drainage, the snowpack was 84 percent of average at North Lost Trail near Marble; 88 percent of average at McClure Pass; and 99 percent at Schofield Pass…

The statewide average is the lowest its been on Jan. 1 since 2003, according to Allen Green, state conservationist with the conservation service. And the snowpack lags well behind the last two years, when powder piled high during storm after storm in December both winters. The statewide snowpack is only 72 percent of what it was last year at this time.

From the Craig Daily Press (Tom Ross):

The federal Natural Re s ource Conservation Service reported Wednesday that the snow in the mountains flanking the Yampa and White river basins contains 78 percent of the typical water content for this point in the winter. The snowpack measuring station at 9,400 feet elevation on the west side of Rabbit Ears Pass stands at 61 percent of the average 10.7 inches of water for this date. North of Steamboat, at 10,500 feet, the 17 inches of water stored in the snowpack is 78 percent of average. Weather observer Art Judson, who has a weather station on Buffalo Pass, said the snow depth there Tuesday was 81 inches.

From the Summit Daily News (Julie Sutor):

Snowpack in the Blue River Basin, home to Breckenridge and Silverthorne, registered 76 percent of average, according to the latest survey by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, conducted Jan. 1. Hoosier pass and Loveland Pass are at 87 percent and 68 percent of average, respectively…

“We’re in an El Niño year this year, which is typically dry in mid-winter,” said Mike Gillespie, snow survey supervisor with the Conservation Service. “There’s hope we could see some relief during the later spring months.”[…]

According to Gillespie, the state as a whole has about a 20 percent chance of being above average by then. Last winter, Colorado’s statewide maximum total snowpack was 109 percent of average…

Current reservoir storage throughout the state is slightly above average, with the exception of southwestern Colorado, where water storage levels are below normal volumes.

From The Durango Herald:

Southwest Colorado’s snowpack is almost on the mark at 97 percent of its historical average…

Local snow levels – in the San Miguel, Animas, Dolores and San Juan River basins – were the highest in the state…

December 2009 snowfall in Durango was more than twice its 18-year average, with the town receiving 24.05 inches. Durango’s average December snowfall, as established by the Western Regional Climate Center, is 11.86 inches. Joe Ramey of the National Weather Service’s Grand Junction office said that we are in an El Niño year, causing snowier conditions in the southwest mountains and drier conditions in the northwest. Most of the service’s automated snow-measuring sites place snowfall at below average, with Red Mountain Pass at 81 percent of average, the Upper Arkansas basin at 88 percent of average, and the upper Rio Grande basin at 90 percent of average. In addition, snowfall on the Wolf Creek Pass summit has received 105 percent of average…

“Given our current conditions, we need to receive about 110 percent of average snowfall from now until mid-April to reach our average maximum totals,” said Allen Green, with the conservation office. The office is predicting below-average runoff across most of the state, with the lowest levels occurring in northwestern Colorado.

Statewide reservoir storage levels are slightly above average at 102 percent average storage levels, though not in Southwest Colorado. Reservoirs in this region rank dead last in the state with reservoir levels at 89 percent of average. As of Wednesday, Vallecito and Lemon Reservoir levels were at 78 percent of average and 48 percent of average, respectively.

From The Mountain Mail:

In the Arkansas River Basin, snowpack is 89 percent of average. “While this year’s snowpack is both below average and well below that of last year, it’s still too early to be overly concerned about short water supplies. We still have 60 percent of the winter snowpack accumulation season ahead of us,” state snow survey supervisor Mike Gillespie said…

Gillespie said preliminary forecasts predict slightly below average water supply, or between 75 and 90 percent of average. The information affects irrigators and Colorado water users, in addition to those in downstream states. “Everyone is affected in one way or another. Municipalities use the information to gauge how much water they’ll have. Reservoir operators need to know how much inflow they can anticipate so they can manage operations and maximize storage volumes in the spring…

Reported data shows Apishapa, in the southern Sangre de Cristo range, as the only area in the Arkansas River Basin with above average snowpack, at 106 percent of average. Whiskey Creek, near Stonewall, reported the lowest percent of average, at 63 percent. At Porphyry Creek, near Monarch Pass, snowpack measured 99 percent of average, with 31 inches of snow. South Colony, near Westcliffe, measured 95 percent of average snowpack and 33 inches of snow depth. Brumley reported 86 percent of average snowpack and Fremont Pass reported 84 percent of average.

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