Snowpack news: Slow start to the runoff season

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

… the southwest corner of the state, Gunnison and Rio Grande basins have fallen far below average after an early runoff, dust and winds battered a hefty snowpack left by storms in the winter months. “That doesn’t mean there is lots more water in the state,” said Nolan Doesken, state climatologist. “There’s been some increase, but it’s mostly been a shutoff of snowmelt.”

The plains are still soaked from weekend storms, and the snow that fell in the mountains has added to the snowpack. More rain and snow are forecast for later in the week. As El Nino has weakened, the storms have been hitting further north. The snow in the southwestern areas of the state melted early, according to Snotel sites maintained by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Streamflows throughout that region are now at or below normal. In the Colorado River basin, streamflows have fallen far below normal, showing that a runoff that occurred in April has stopped, with colder temperatures holding snow longer in the high country. In the South Platte River basin, streamflows were well above average Monday because of the heavy rainfall over the weekend. The Arkansas River basin has seen above-average precipitation so far this year — Pueblo has seen 4.35 inches, about 20 percent above normal — but river flows and snowpack are both in the average range.

From the Aspen Daily News (David Frey):

The spring storms helped boost the snowpack in the mountains and slowed spring runoff, Kanzer said, keeping more moisture in storage as snow. “Snowpack is our greatest reservoir,” Kanzer said, speaking to a group of about 20 people at a State of the River presentation at the El Jebel community center. Forecasters expect local stream flows to be 70-90 percent of average. The Roaring Fork is predicted to be 82 percent of average at the mouth in Glenwood Springs. Ruedi Reservoir above Basalt is expected to fill, at least for a few weeks, this summer.

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