Snowpack news: Southern basins struggling, help on the way this weekend

From CBS Denver (Chris Spears):

The latest numbers for statewide snowpack show northwest and southwest Colorado are running behind where they should be for this time of year.

Some of the driest conditions can be found in the Upper Rio Grande and the San Juan-Dolores-San Miguel-Animas River Basins.

The South Platte River Basin, which includes Denver and much of the Interstate 25 Urban Corridor is doing the best at 103 percent of median.

You might notice I said median instead of average.

Even though the two terms are often used synonymously, there is a difference.

A median ranks data from largest to smallest and then picks the value in the middle, leaving an equal number of points on either side and helping to keep the data from being skewed.

An average can be used, but it might be significantly influenced by a few values if they are clustered at either end of the range.

Therefore, when it comes to talking about snowpack, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has set a standard to use the median versus the average.

While you might be inclined to look at these numbers and feel discouraged, especially if you live in one of the basins that are running behind, don’t be.

There is still plenty of time left in the snow accumulation season to make a difference.

And the most recent outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is calling for a wetter-than-normal end to winter and start of spring.

I always think back to 2003 when I look at numbers like we have now on the statewide snowpack.

One good slow-moving, soggy storm can change the outlook dramatically, as it did that March.

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