Snowpack/precipitation news

A picture named snowpackcolorado03042011

From The Mountain Mail (Joe Stone):

Snowpack in the Arkansas River basin increased during February, to 108 percent of average by March 1 compared to 103 percent Feb. 1. The monthly Basin Outlook Report by the Natural Resources Conservation Service reported mountain precipitation in February rebounded to monthly totals of 124 percent of average – enough to maintain above-average March 1 snowpack during four of the last five years…

Based upon current snowpack measurements, the report predicts above-average to well-above-average runoff for headwater tributaries of the Arkansas River. Southern tributaries, however, will likely experience below-average stream flow. Highest April-September flow volume in the basin is expected in Chalk Creek at Nathrop, where flow may reach 141 percent of average. Reservoir storage in the basin is about 90 percent of average or 58,000 acre-feet below normal for this time of year…

Colorado statewide snowpack by March 1 was 115 percent of average making it the highest March 1 percentage since 2008. Statewide totals are at 131 percent of last year’s statewide readings. Statewide, water year precipitation is now at 118 percent of average, and the South Platte basin is reporting the highest water year percentage in the state at 130-percent of average.

From the Arizona Daily Star (Tony Davis):

if the current numbers hold up, the feds will have enough water to release some extra from Lake Powell to Lake Mead, thereby forestalling shortages on the Central Arizona Project for a few years. Without good runoff, the first shortage could occur as soon as 2012 or 2013.

Locally, however, Tucson’s drought seems worse than ever. We’ve reaped only 1.17 inch of rain since Oct. 1 — the start of the unofficial “water year” used by forecasters — compared to a norm of 4.78 inches.

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