Here’s the release from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (Ben Wade):
January was the 15th warmest on record as well as being the driest January statewide since 2003. February precipitation to date statewide is 81% of average. D1 drought conditions have been introduced to the western slope. In the next two weeks, much needed precipitation is forecasted to come to the state that could benefit the western slope and the northwestern part of the state in particular.
Year-to-date precipitation at mountain SNOTEL sites, as of February 17, has dropped from 87% of normal on January 20th to 81% statewide. The South Platte basin continues to have the highest snowpack at 105% of normal, while the Upper Rio Grande basin has the lowest at 61% of normal. Six basins need more than 120% of normal precipitation to reach peak snowpack and make up for their big deficits.
According to NRCS SNOTEL data, January was the driest in the Yampa/White basin in 30 years of collecting snowpack data. The basin experienced 33% of precipitation in January. They have almost seen near average precipitation in February at 86% but they would need to experience 147% of normal snowpack accumulation to reach their normal snowpack peak.
The Southwest basins and the Rio Grande basins need 207% and 220% respectively of precipitation to reach their normal peak. As of February 17, the Southwest basins have only experienced 18% of average precipitation and the Rio Grande basin has experienced 33% of average precipitation.
Last month, 103 daily maximum temperature records across Colorado were tied or broken. As of February 15, there have been 199 maximum temperature records tied or broken statewide.
Reservoir Storage statewide is at 104% of average as of February 1st a slight drop from last month. The lowest reservoir storage in the state continues to be the Upper Rio Grande basin, with 69% of average storage. The South Platte has the highest storage level at 119% of average.
February 1st streamflow forecasts are near normal for the South Platte, Colorado, and northern portions of the Arkansas and Rio Grande basins. Streamflow forecasts are well below normal for the basins in the southwest, Rio Grande and Yampa basins.
The Surface Water Supply Index (SWSI) for the state is near normal across much of the state. The lowest value in the state reflects low reservoir levels in Platoro reservoir.
The 8-14 day forecast predicts the state will see below average temperatures and an above average chance for precipitation.
More CWCB coverage here.