Snowpack news: The upper Colorado River basin — 161% of average, the San Juan, Dolores and San Miguel basins climb to 100% of average

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From the Colorado Connection (Matthew Kruger):

In a banner La Nina year, the northern and central mountain ranges of Colorado have seen abundant snow, with areas around Steamboat Springs concerned about flooding in the early summer. However, a drought is intensifying on the plains, with over 10,000 acres burned in wildfires by late spring…

Most river basins and snowpack storage levels are running above average. The North Platte and Yampa basins are seeing the highest percentage of normal, while the Dolores and Upper Rio Grande are actually below normal, but not critical…

Right now, local reservoirs are at about 80% of average, which is considered very healthy. But CSU says water usage on the plains has increased earlier than expected, which will strain water availability.

From NewsFirst5.com (Greg Boyce):

The Greeley Tribune reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service measured snowpack in Poudre Canyon that reached more than 160 inches, or almost 13.5 feet, at one point. Officials say the snow was almost too deep to measure in some places. They say the snow usually starts to decline this time of year.

From the North Forty News:

As of April 21, snowpack in the South Platte Basin, which includes the Cache la Poudre and Big Thompson drainages, stood at 130 percent of average, according to Mike Gillespie, snow survey supervisor for the state. Last year, the South Platte snowpack was just 73 percent of average in late April. With the high snowpack, stream runoff is predicted to be above normal this spring, and the National Weather Service in Boulder is keeping a close eye on the situation. “Flooding is definitely a concern,” said NWS hydrologist Treste Huse. “We’re watching it and getting prepared.”[…]

State water officials make runoff forecasts on the first of each month. On April 1, forecasters estimated this year’s runoff on the Poudre to be 135 percent of average. Gillespie said the May 1 estimate could be even higher. “It’s been extremely wet in the Poudre drainage,” he said. Joe Wright Reservoir, located in the Poudre drainage near Cameron Pass, set a snowpack record this year. Gillespie said the snow-water equivalent was 41.9 inches on April 21, surpassing the previous record of 35.6 inches set on that date in 1986. The average snow-water equivalent for late April is 24.2 inches at Joe Wright…

The snowpack figures in Colorado vary a great deal between north and south basins. On April 21, the North Platte drainage was at 150 percent of average, while the Rio Grande stood at just 70 percent.

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