Snowpack/runoff news: Slow onset of runoff leads to impressive snowpack totals — South Platte basin = 236% of average

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I’ve been trying to get some perspective on the massive snowpack numbers we’re seeing around most of Colorado this year so I’ve been emailing lately with the National Resources Conservation Service.

Mike Gillespie tells me that, while accurate, the numbers are a percent of average for the snowpack on this date. Since the runoff is so reluctant to come out of the mountains this year the delayed onset skews the snowpack totals.

His recommendation is to look at the current peak as compared with the average peak. I went online to check and the South Platte basin’s current peak as a percent of average peak is a still impressive 146%.

It’s going to be a good year to store water.

More coverage from the Colorado Independent (Scott Kersgaard). Click through for the great photo of the National Park Service plowing up on Trail Ridge Road. Here’s an excerpt:

The skiing is still good at those Colorado resorts still open. The views to the west from Denver are still of freshly snow-packed mountains. Colorado finally has some moisture. All is good, in other words. Perhaps. If it all melts at once, though, Colorado and other Western states could be in for a world of hurt.

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