Snowpack news: Gunnison Basin snowpack — 80%

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From the Montrose Daily Press (Kati O’Hare):

The Gunnison River Basin encompasses water from Monarch Pass west to the Utah border and Grand Mesa south to Mount Wilson. As of Tuesday, precipitation is at 97 percent of average with snowpack at 78 percent of average. “Because of the way the snow tracks have been running, it’s been dumping mostly in the southern mountains,” said Bob Hurford, Water Division 4 engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources. Southern areas of the basin are doing well, such as Lake City, which is at more than 100 percent of average total precipitation. But eastern areas, such as McClure Pass, are at about 90 percent.

From The Greeley Tribune (Bill Jackson):

“For the most part, any gains we saw during the last week of April were far surpassed by the melt we saw earlier in the month,” [Allen Green, state conservationist with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service] said in a press release. The statewide snowpack fell to the lowest level of the season on May 1, at only 78 percent of average.

For most of the state, however, reservoir storage remains in good condition, with nearly average to above-average storage volumes reported in most of the major river basins. The South Platte was at 105 percent of average and 4 percent above last year. The strong reservoir storage readings are attributed to average to above-average runoff levels in spring 2008 and 2009, Green said. The additional storage should help alleviate some late-summer shortages from this year’s below-average snowpack.

Across northern Colorado, where the winter’s lowest snowpack readings have been common, snowpack declines were minimal in April. The lone exception was the North Platte basin, where an increase in April was recorded and which is at its highest percentage of the year, at 84 percent of average. Those basins showing the greatest declines were the Gunnison, Arkansas, Rio Grande and the combined San Juan, Animas, Dolores and San Miguel basins. Above-average levels were measured in the Gunnison, Colorado, South Platte, Yampa, White and North Platte basins. Statewide, precipitation levels in April were 117 percent of average. It was the first month of above-average precipitation since December.

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