Snowpack news

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This time of year Arizonans are looking upriver at the snowpack in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. They are welcoming big releases from Lake Powell for the farms and cities of the desert southwest and hoping for more. Here’s a report from Tony Davis writing for the The Arizona Daily Star. From the article:

The Colorado River Basin Forecasting Center predicts that April-July runoff into Lake Powell, which straddles the Arizona-Utah border, will be about 113 percent of normal. That’s about 9 million acre-feet of water. An acre-foot is about 325,850 gallons. Last year’s April-June runoff was only 73 percent of average, or 5.79 million acre-feet, said Brenda Alcorn, a forecaster for the center in Salt Lake City. For the decade of 2000-2009, the Colorado’s average annual flow into Lee’s Ferry, just below Lake Powell, was the lowest for any decade since authorities started keeping records on the river more than a century ago…

Lake Mead is now about 40 percent full, while Lake Powell is about 60 percent full. But the bureau’s Buck adds that forecasts change monthly and could go up or down by April, the start of the spring-runoff season. “We want to err on the side of caution in these forecasts,” Buck said. “In the past, we’ve looked pretty good up to this point, but by the time April rolled around, it wasn’t so good.”

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