Snowpack news: Statewide snowpack down to 74% of average, South Platte = 79%, Upper Colorado = 71%

snowpackcolorado03162012

Click on the thumbnail graphic to the right for the current snowpack map from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):

…an average year on the Poudre may seem like a dream for optimists because the mid-March mountain snowpack is far below average – 81 percent of average across the South Platte Basin as of Wednesday morning, according to U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service data. Temperatures have been high and the skies have been blue in the mountains – all elements that have conspired to shave 10 inches off the snowpack in the mountains of Northern Colorado and southern Wyoming over the last several days, said meteorologist Mike Weiland, who specializes in hydrology at the National Weather Service in Cheyenne, Wyo…

Northern Colorado’s strongest snowstorms often come in March and April, said Boulder NWS meteorologist Bernie Meier, but this year could be different, especially over the next couple of weeks. Warm, dry weather both at high and low elevations are expected to hang around through Sunday, he said, with a possible chance for snow in the mountains early next week. “Most of the models now keep that system to the south and move it off to the east,” Meier said. “After that, it looks like another dry pattern through the later part of next week.”[…]

The spring runoff forecast for the Poudre and other rivers in Northern Colorado isn’t much better. The NWS’ March 6 water supply outlook for April through September calls for stream flows to be well below average all across the region. The Poudre’s flow is expected to be 13 percent below average for that period, with the Big Thompson expected to run 19 percent below average. The North Platte through North Park is expected to run 45 percent below average. That’s not all: “The forecast is for above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation in general,” Weiland said. “The chances of building up snowpack aren’t as good as one would hope.”

Leave a Reply