Snowpack news: Yampa and White basins lead the state at 83% of median #COdrought


All these storms rolling through have had an effect in the northern mountains. Here’s the list from the Natural Resources Conservation Service: Gunnison = 72% of median; Upper Colorado River = 70%; South Platte = 74%; Laramie and North Platte = 79%; Yampa and White = 83%; Arkansas = 61%; Upper Rio Grande = 65%; San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan = 71%.

From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is reporting that the water stored in the snow on the ground in the Yampa/White river basin now stands at 76 percent of average, but there are snow measuring sites around Routt County that are significantly higher, including Crosho Lake south of Yampa at 92 percent, Whiskey Park in far North Routt at 86 percent, and Rabbit Ears Pass at 80 percent. Steamboat-based meteorologist Mike Weissbluth says the Park Range can be expected to add to the snowpack during the holidays…

Only the neighboring Laramie and North Platte basin, at 81 percent of average, is closer to normal water storage than is the Yampa/White river basin.

Like the Yampa River, the North Platte drains the Park Range, but from the eastern side of the Continental Divide. It also collects water from the Never Summer mountain range, where the snow-measuring site at Willow Creek Pass between Walden and Granby is the only site in the state currently at 100 percent of average water content.

The Tower measuring site at 10,500 feet on Buffalo Pass has 48 inches of snow on the ground, and that 10.8 inches of water content translates to just 69 percent of average for Dec. 24. The snow at the Elk River measuring site in North Routt stood at 32 inches on Dec. 19, but that number had settled to 22 inches by Monday morning. The water in the snow is 71 percent of average.

Weissbluth wrote Monday that an upcoming change in polar weather patterns could suspend the flow of snow into Northwest Colorado for New Year’s.

“It looks like snowfall may be interrupted for a week as the cold air in Siberia re-crosses the North Pole and establishes a vortex in Hudson Bay and a ridge over the Gulf of Alaska,” he wrote. “We can get snow from this pattern as cold air breaks westward from this vortex, or storms undercut the Gulf of Alaska ridge, but this is not an ideal pattern for accumulating snowfall.”

From Steamboat Today:

Past 24 hours [ed. at Steamboat]: 11 inches at mid-mountain and 14 inches of new snow at the summit

Past 48 hours: 13 inches at mid-mountain

Since close yesterday: 8 inches at mid-mountain