Runoff/snowpack news

Click on a thumbnail graphic to view a gallery of snowpack data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

Aspinall Unit releases were increased this afternoon [June 5] by 1,200 cfs. This release should bring flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon up to around 9,500 cfs. Flows in the Gunnison River at Delta are expected to enter the 13,000 cfs to 13,500 cfs range by tomorrow morning.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

Flow in the Big Thompson River has been rather steady the last two days. Inflow peaked this morning around 1090 to Lake Estes. As a result, outflow through Olympus Dam to the canyon stayed closer to 500 cfs.

Today [June 5], it decreased some more, dropping to around 350 cfs. Our models are showing inflows to Lake Estes staying around 1000 cfs through tonight. Consequently, we are anticipating the 350 cfs to stay in place through morning.

From The Denver Post (Corrie Sahling):

Colorado’s wet spring and winter are paying big dividends for the state’s snow pack and reservoirs in northern parts of the state, but southern areas are still below normal, federal officials said Thursday.

The statewide snow pack is almost double that of normal conditions for this time of year — and more than triple in the South Platte basin. Reservoirs are at 95 percent of normal — up from 75 percent last year at this time — and are at about 62 percent of capacity.

Southern river basins, including the San Juan and Upper Rio Grande, are nearly snow-free and have reservoirs that are far below their capacity, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Normally at this time of year, most of the snow is melted. But we still have a pretty decent snow pack,” said Mage Hulstrand, a USDA hydrologist.

The latest snow pack measurements from the USDA show there is still 20 to 40 percent of the total snowpack remaining in the higher elevations of the Colorado , Yampa , North Platte and South Platte basins.

“If the current wet weather patterns persist into June, the chances for continued high water levels in the streams in these basins are quite good,” the news release said.

The South Platte basin is where the largest percent of snow pack is left — this area includes the Cache la Poudre River, Boulder Creek and the Big Thompson River — where there has already been high water levels and flooding.

The South Platte basin measures at 311 percent of the median snow pack, which is up from 209 percent at this time last year, the release said.

Reservoirs in the South Platte basin are at 113 percent of normal, 114 percent of normal in the Yampa/White basin and 109 percent of normal in the Gunnison basin.

Snow pack is just 39 percent of the median in the Rio Grande basin and is at 59 percent in the San Juan, Animas, Dolores and San Miguel basin, the USDA said. The Arkansas basin is at 132 percent of normal, but reservoirs are at 56 percent of normal. Reservoirs are at 66 percent of normal in the Rio Grande basin.

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