Snowpack/runoff news

A picture named snowpackcolorado03022011

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s drought monitor shows moderate drought conditions persisting through-out eastern Colorado. That’s not the story for the mountains, however.

The mountains around Cameron Pass are seeing snowfall well above average. The water content of the snowpack at Cameron Pass was 141 percent of average at the end of February, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s monthly Poudre River Basin snow survey. On Feb. 28, Cameron Pass at 10,285 feet had 88 inches of snow on the ground with a water content of 30.3 inches — 9 inches greater than in 2010. The snowpack at Big South at 8,600 feet along the Poudre River was 236 percent of average as of Monday with 28 inches on the ground and a water content of 6.6 inches — about 4 inches greater than at the same time last year.

From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):

Noting that a relatively large snowpack above Green Mountain Reservoir should lead to above-average runoff, the Bureau of Reclamation has started drawing down Green Mountain Reservoir a little more quickly than planned to make room for that runoff. At the same time, Denver Water has upped releases from Dillon Reservoir heading down the Blue into Green Mountain Reservoir. With the Roberts Tunnel shut down for maintenance until April, the annual spring balancing act between capturing as much runoff as possible and preventing flooding could be even more delicate than usual. That means flows below Green Mountain Reservoir will be ramping up starting March 3, from 200 cubic feet per second to about 275 cfs by March 5. The flows will remain at that level until further notice, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

From The Durango Herald (Dale Rodebaugh):

This week, the winter season water content of the snow at the Echo Basin ridge was 103 percent of average. Year-to-date water content was 108 percent of average…

In the entire San Juan Basin, the snow-water equivalent Tuesday was 18.1 inches, which is about average for the date during the last five years…

The water content of the snow in the San Juan, Animas and Dolores basins was 99 percent of average Feb. 17, the same as it was exactly a year ago, Rege Leach, the Colorado Division of Water Resources engineer in Durango, said last week.

From Windsor Now! (Bill Jackson):

At one location on the snow survey site at the 10,285-foot summit of Cameron Pass, [John] Fusaro and [Todd] Boldt measured more than 120 inches of snow. They found 104 inches at another, and the site averaged a snow depth of 88 inches. “It’s been a long time since we’ve seen snow like that up there this time of the year,” Fusaro said. On Cameron, he and Boldt had to put on five sections of tubing — 150 inches — to measure the snow depth, which is practically unheard of in February…

In addition to the snow being deep — it averaged from a high of 88 inches at Cameron to a low of 28 inches at Big South at 8,600 feet elevation — the snow had good density, meaning it holds a lot of water. At Cameron, Fusaro said, it had a density of 35 percent. At Chamber’s Lake, it was 27 percent. In addition, the ground under the soil ranged from damp to wet, “which means not only is there water in the snow, there’s water in the soil,” Fusaro said.

Leave a Reply