Snowpack news: Drought conditions persist on the eastern plains

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Snowpack remains heavy in the northern mountains and much of the Western Slope, while the Arkansas River basin continues to move into severe drought. Statewide, snowpack remains at 125 percent of average, but it’s too early to make projections about water supply. The Arkansas River and Rio Grande basins hover near average precipitation, while the South Platte and southwest corner of the state are slightly above average. The Colorado River and its tributaries are well above normal…

To illustrate the importance of later spring snows, snowfall in the upper part of the Arkansas River basin was at 60 to 75 percent of peak so far, said Pat Edelmann, of the Pueblo office of the U.S. Geological Survey. The southern mountains are at only 20 to 30 percent of peak, while the Roaring Fork basin, which provides supplemental diversions to the Arkansas River, is at 50 to 75 percent of its peak…

Ski areas are reporting healthy bases of snow, with 74 inches at Wolf Creek, 64 inches at Monarch and 54 inches at Ski Cooper. Snotel sites operated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service show snow depths up to 7 feet at higher elevations, with 3 to 4 feet at most lower sites on the Western Slope. In the southern mountains, there is less than 2 feet in most places. Snow water equivalent, the moisture content of snow, is 8 to 36 inches in most places, but under 6 inches in the southern mountains…

Storage in upper reservoirs — Lake Pueblo, Clear Creek, Turquoise and Twin Lakes — is anywhere from 100 to 140 percent of average, which Trinidad Lake is only 70 percent of average and John Martin Reservoir is at 30 percent.

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