Forecast news: Significant mountain snowfall starting today #codrought #cowx

From the CoCoRaHS blog:

In the west an upper level system will come ashore in southern California early Friday heading toward the southern Rockies. Rain and snow will accompany this system as it makes its way across the Southwest, and winter weather advisories, watches, and warnings are in effect for a number of western states. This southern system will merge with another disturbance in the Northern Plains, and by Saturday morning will be bringing snow to a large portion of the central and southern Rockies and the Northern Plains. Ahead of this system, strong southerly winds will feed moisture to fuel showers and thunderstorms eastward through the Midwest.

From The Denver Post (Nic Turiciano):

Areas along the Front Range — Denver included — can expect from 6 to 10 inches of snow between Friday night and the early evening of Saturday. New forecasts from the National Weather Service also call for snowfall in the northern mountains and foothills to total between 8 and 16 inches…

Flurries will begin Friday afternoon in the mountains with snow falling in the metro area by Friday evening. Winds from 20 to 35 mph will create low visibility for Denver and the plains. Much of central and northeastern Colorado will remain in a Winter Weather Watch through Saturday evening.

Reclamation to start pumping to Carter Lake on Monday

More Colorado-Big Thompson Project coverage here.

Cache la Poudre River: Less CBT irrigation water due to High Park Fire pollution #codrought


From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley): via the Loveland Reporter-Herald:

The scorching of Colorado forests by super-intense wildfires is worsening the water woes for Eldon Ackerman and other Larimer County farmers, jeopardizing thousands of irrigated acres that normally produce millions of dollars in crops. The problem: soot, sediment and debris washing from burned forests have made the Cache la Poudre River less reliable as Fort Collins’ main water supply for urban households. Particles clog treatment facilities. So, city officials say, they must heavily tap their secondary supply — water piped under mountains from the Western Slope. That water typically has been leased to farmers.

Fort Collins officials recently notified 80 farmers not to expect any leased water this spring. And suddenly, Ackerman — instead of ordering seeds and fertilizer — is talking with insurers and preparing to lay off hired hands…

In the big picture, this intensifying water crunch reflects a shifting balance of power between cities and the agriculture that traditionally has anchored life along Colorado’s northern Front Range. Drought and the oil-and-gas industry’s appetite for drilling water already have weakened farmers’ position. Cities in recent years have purchased interests in irrigation-ditch companies. Farmers have sold their water rights, taking advantage of high prices. Financial stress and low commodity prices forced some to sell. Others simply sought profit. The result is that city interests increasingly dominate decision-making. “Now, cities are getting very conservative because of the drought, compounded with the wildfire,” said Reagan Waskom, director of Colorado State University’s Water Center…

“We’ve got this twofold issue of drought complicated by fire, and the issue of more fires. What that will do to our water yields is very unknown,” said John Stulp, a Colorado agriculture leader serving as a special water adviser to Gov. John Hickenlooper.

More water pollution coverage here.