Snowpack news: The San Luis Valley continues to dry up ahead of the runoff season

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From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide):

As of Tuesday, the Rio Grande Basin that encompasses the San Luis Valley was sitting at 75 percent of average basin wide, factoring the western San Juan Mountains in with that 41 percent for the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Just the week before, the basin-wide average was 80 percent.

The tops of the Sangres now look more like they usually do in May, water attorney David Robbins related to members of the Sub-district #1 board during its annual meeting on Tuesday. He said generally this time of year when he flies into the Valley from the Denver area, he can see big snowfields in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, but this year those snowfields are already gone. “It looks like May even in the protected interior,” he said…

Colorado Division of Water Resources Division Engineer for Division 3 Craig Cotten said the annual forecasted stream flow for the Rio Grande at Del Norte is also below average, with about 505,000 acre feet predicted for the calendar year, or 78 percent of average. Last year the Rio Grande ran 535,000 acre feet through Del Norte. Even the 505,000-acre-foot prediction may be too optimistic, Cotten said. “The only way we can get there is if we get some summer moisture,” he said. “If we do not get some summer moisture, we are not even going to get to that.”

From the Sky-Hi Daily News:

A new record high in snowpack was set for Gore Pass, with a total snow moisture content of 16.6 inches and a depth of 50 inches. This beats the old record high of 16.0 inches, which was set in 1965, according to USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Kremmling Field Office snow surveyors Mark Volt and Jenny Stricker…

Snowpack in the mountains above Middle Park now ranges from 108 percent to 194 percent of the 30-year average. Snow density is averaging 32 percent, which means that for a foot of snow there are 3.8 inches of water. The highest snowpack, relative to normal, is in the Laramie and North Platte River Basins, which measure 135 percent of average…

Reported average readings for the major river basins in Colorado are as follows:

• Colorado River Basin averages 124 percent
• Gunnison River Basin, 116 percent
• South Platte River Basin, 117 percent
• Yampa and White River Basins,127 percent
• Arkansas River Basin, 96 percent
• Upper Rio Grande Basin, 81 percent
• San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan River Basins 92 percent
• Laramie and North Platte River Basins, 135 percent

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