Snowpack/precipitation/runoff news: Lake County tallies 166.6 inches of snow for the water year so far

A picture named snowpackcolorado05052011

From the Leadville Herald-Democrat (Carol Werckman):

According to local weather guru Charlie Kuster, so far through April 30 of this snow year, which isn’t over until June 30, Lake County has received 166.6 inches of snow. This is almost 150 percent of normal, he said. Normal is around 114 inches…Climax records support the “lots of snow” theory. So far, as of April 30, the snowfall at Climax has already broken the record for the annual total, which was 380.1 inches. It now measures 382.3 inches, with one more month of measuring to go. Also, the total for April snow at Climax was just half an inch below the record of 69.8 inches. This April Climax received 69.3 inches.

From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Tonya Bina):

“Everything to Lake Powell is above 100 percent,” said Don Meyer of the Colorado River District, in an overview of May 1 forecasts for probable runoff volumes. The Colorado Basin River Forecast Center indicates early to mid-May would be the optimum time for a prolonged warm period to melt snows and decrease the probability of spring floods…

Collectively, water engineers went out on a limb and guessed that peak runoff may take place from mid-June to the end of June, and that flows on the Colorado River at the Kremmling gauge below the confluence of the Blue River might reach around 12,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), which is about double the peak flow of last year and triple the historical average peak flow of around 4,000 cfs…

operators at Willow Creek Reservoir, a much smaller impoundment constructed to pump water into Lake Granby, are taking it as “low as can take the reservoir safely,” [Andrew Gilmore of the Bureau of Reclamation] said. That’s in preparation for projected runoff from the Willow Creek Basin, which is sitting at a record-breaking 203 percent of average snowpack. Gilmore said Big-Thompson operators are preparing Willow Creek to capture an expected 97,000 acre-feet of runoff, or the equivalent of seven times the capacity of the reservoir…

And Adams Tunnel on the east end of Grand Lake, which sends water to the northern Front Range for power generation and municipal and agriculture use, is running full right now, engineers said. At peak runoff, operators plan to close Adams Tunnel, allowing East Slope reservoirs to capture native runoff on the east side of the Continental Divide…

In the Moffat System operated by Denver Water, Jones Pass has tied the record for the most snow on May 1, said Bob Steger of Denver Water. Steger said Denver Water plans to reserve a certain amount of space in Gross Reservoir to prepare for peaks on the Fraser River. But the “wild card,” he said, is Denver Water’s junior water rights on South Boulder Creek, the water from which is also stored in Gross. At Williams Fork, Denver Water is conducting repairs on the reservoir’s outlet works, which means it is “limping on 70 to 80 cubic feet per second with temporary outlet works,” Steger said. By next week, repairs should be completed, allowing the reservoir to release more water at that time in preparation for capturing runoff.

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