Snowpack news: Southern part of state looking average, northern part not so much

A picture named coloradosnowpack02252010

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Arkansas River basin was at 98 percent of average following a storm that left a foot or more of new snow in the mountains. Statewide, snowfalls are about 90 percent, with 80 percent for basins in the northern half of the state.

After the storms, 3-4 feet of snow with snow water equivalent of 8-10 inches were recorded at most upper elevation Central Colorado measurement points by the Natural Resources Conservation Service…

While the Colorado River Basin was at 82 percent of average, the Roaring Fork basin was at 93 percent…

In the southern mountains, snowfall totals are more impressive, according to the NRCS. Totals measure 60-100 inches, and 15-30 inches in snow water equivalent, in the upper measurement sites on the western slopes of the San Juan Mountains in the Southwest corner of the state. The Rio Grande Basin was at 110 percent of average, with the heaviest snowpack on the west side of the basin in the San Juans.

For the Pueblo area, snowfall has totalled almost 20 inches so far this year, slightly below normal. Precipitation, however, is above normal at nearly 1 inch, compared with 0.56 inches on average. Lake Pueblo continues to fill and is reaching its limits for the flood conservation pool…

Streamflows throughout the region continued to be at about average levels overall, according to U.S. Geological Survey data. Other than the Northwest corner, the state is safe from drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

From the Loveland Reporter-Herald (Katie Westervelt):

Nolan Doesken, state climatologist, said such numbers [low snow water equivalent] aren’t uncommon. He also said larger storms typically occur in March and early April and that snow levels can improve.

Noah Newman, a research associate at the Colorado Climate Center, says it is all about wait and see. “We like to track things on a longer-term basis,” said Newman. “Reservoir storage is close to its average. No one is dependent on just one water source.”[…]

Dana Strongin, spokes-woman for the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, said the two large river basins, Upper Colorado and South Platte, are at 82 percent and 83 percent of the average, respectively. With the snowiest months approaching, she said it is too early to hit the panic button.

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