Snowpack/runoff news: Recent storms help the outlook

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From the Boulder Daily Camera (Jenn Fields):

In the South Platte River basin — which is basically the Front Range — the snowpack is at 113 percent of average as of Tuesday, said Matthew Kelsch, a hydrometeorologist with University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. “The storms we had last week definitely helped catch us up to average,” Kelsch said. It was a welcome boost at higher elevations, said Dan Gottas, a Boulder meteorologist who writes the mountain forecast for “Before the storminess set back in during late April, the snowpack water content over the higher elevations along the northern Front Range was around 75 percent of normal for that time of the year,” Gottas said. Now, he said, snow-water content measurements at some sub-alpine locations along the Front Range are at anywhere from 100 percent to 130 percent of average for this time of the year. The snowpack typically declines rapidly after peaking in late April, he said, but the combination of cooler temperatures preventing the spring run-off and more snow are now keeping the snowpack at or above average.

From the Longmont Ledger:

“River flows can increase dramatically, without warning. Flooding is the number one weather-related killer in the United States,” said a press release from the city. “Citizens are advised to not play in or near the Saint Vrain Creek, and especially do not allow any pets or small children near the water.” Due to the recent drought, it has been a number of years since there has been a significant streamflow through Longmont, the release said. Rivers and creeks therefore may be more dangerous than normal as logs and other material that have accumulated over the past few years break loose and become part of the flow. Nearly all area reservoirs are currently full. Therefore, with the exception of area ditches diverting water for irrigation purposes, all snowmelt and future rainfall events will flow through Longmont via the Saint Vrain and Left Hand Creeks.

From email from Reclamation (Vern Harrell):

The mid month forecast decreased by 20,000 acre-feet from the May 1 forecast. With the current forecast, it doesn’t look like McPhee Reservoir will fill this year.

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