Snowpack news: South Platte Basin = 107% of avg (best in state), Upper Rio Grande drops = 65%

From the Vail Daily (Randy Wyrick):

The Upper Colorado River Basin — that’s us — is running 14 percent ahead of normal, as are the Yampa and White River Basin, and the South Platte River Basin, the NRCS said…

Besides the Colorado River Basin at 114 percent of median, the Gunnison Basin is 99 percent of median and the South Platte Basin is 112 percent of median.

Statewide reservoir storage is in good shape; end-of-December storage totals were at 103 percent of average, Domonkos said.

However, November brought cooler temperatures and snow to the mountains. The moisture stopped before Thanksgiving and the state experienced an unusual lack of moisture for more than two weeks, Domonkos said.

The normal is based on the 30-year average between 1980-2010, said Diane Johnson with the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District. That norm will be adjusted in 2020 for the next 30-year cycle between 1990-2020.

“Snowpack is all about good conditions on the hill, good conditions in the rivers and a good water supply,” Johnson said.

Johnson tends to be cautious, and while she’s encouraged by the early season snowpack, she said a great deal can happen between now and April, or worse, nothing can happen…

Unfortunately not all of the major basins in Colorado are reporting normal snowpack conditions.

The Upper Rio Grande and San Juan, Animas, Dolores and San Miguel basins are reporting totals of just 71 and 75 percent of median respectively, according to the NRCS.

That’s not great news for these areas that have not recorded a normal seasonal snowpack since 2010, Domonkos said.

“If these basins don’t receive increased precipitation over the next few months, they may be looking at their fifth consecutive year of below normal snowpack and seasonal streamflow runoff,” Domonkos said.

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