Snowpack news: Statewide snowpack at 40% of average, South Platte = 52%, San Miguel/Dolores/Animas/San Juan = 37%

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From Accuweather (Jillian MacMath):

According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the current snowpack is only 52 percent of average after suffering from a particularly dry March. Conditions have not been this poor since the drought of 2002, according to the Colorado Water Supply Outlook report. As of April 1, the water basin supply was at an above-average level, 108 percent of what it usually is this time of year. While the basins are resting at sufficient levels for the time being, they will not be replenished by the melting snowpack as they usually are, which could lead to shortages later on in the year…

“Snowpack is an integral component of assessing water supply availability in Colorado. However, it is not the only variable that water supply planners consider,” [Eric Hecox, Section Chief of Water Supply Planning in Denver] said. “Low snowpack itself is not necessarily a cause for concern. Statewide, our reservoirs are mostly full and this will help offset this year’s low snowpack.”

From The Mountain Mail (Joe Stone):

[Jord] Gertson, a hydrology consultant with SourceWater Consulting, said Arkansas Basin snowpack is at 52 percent of average. He provided Natural Resources Conservation Service water and snowpack data that show the basin is in better shape than it was at the same time during the 2002 drought. Nonetheless, Gertson said current data show cause for concern, especially in the upper Colorado River Basin, where snowpack is only 34 percent of average, based on readings dating back to 1971. For example, Gertson said the Vail Mountain snowpack telemetry, or SNOTEL, station should be reporting approximately 24 inches of snow-water equivalent for early April, but the station currently reports none. In the Upper Arkansas Basin, Gertson said the district’s Boss Lake gauging station reported a high temperature in March of 55 degrees. He said this is “quite warm” for March, given Boss Lake’s elevation of 10,860 feet above sea level. Additionally, Gertson provided stream flow data showing an early onset of spring runoff. He also said he observed runoff in the Leadville area occurring five to six weeks earlier than usual.

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