Snowpack/runoff news

Westwide SNOTEL snow water equivalent as a percent of normal April 15, 2015
Westwide SNOTEL snow water equivalent as a percent of normal April 15, 2015

From The Mountain Mail (Merle Baranczyk):

With below-average precipitation and above-average temperatures for much of the past month, snowpack in the Arkansas River Basin stands at 87 percent of median.

April 1 reports from the Natural Resources Conservation Service show precipitation for March was 65 percent of average. Reports show year-to-date precipitation at 92 percent of average.

According to the NRCS, basin reservoir storage as of March 31 was at 80 percent. A year ago, reservoir storage was at 60 percent.

Streamflow forecasts for the Arkansas River at Salida currently total 80 percent of average while the forecast for the Cucharas River at La Veta is at 62 percent of average.

On March 1, basin snowpack was at 101 percent of median, February precipitation was at 135 percent of average, and year-to-date precipitation was at 101 percent of average.

The NRCS website states that even with the most optimistic snowfall, forecasts would not provide the amount of snowpack accumulation needed to reach median peak snowpack levels.

After the large storm system from the end of February into the first week of March, the rest of the month saw minimal new snow.

The NRCS reports that between March 1 and April 1, statewide percent of median snowpack dropped by 18 percent to 69 percent of normal amounts for the end of March.

The Arkansas and South Platte basins are currently tied for the most plentiful snowpack in Colorado at 87 percent.

The NRCS reports that the combined Animas, Dolores, San Miguel and San Juan basins of southwest Colorado have experienced warm and dry conditions for much of the winter and now show just 49 percent of normal April 1 snowpack.

Snowpacks in the Upper Rio Grande, Gunnison and Yampa-White basins stand at 59, 63 and 65 percent of normal.
Upper Colorado and North Platte basins report snowpacks that are 76 and 73 percent of normal.
April is the month when the state on average sees the most precipitation.

From The Aspen Times (Scott Condon):

Colorado’s overall snowpack is the third worst in 30 years for this time in April, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The snowpack is down to 69 percent of normal. It fell from 87 percent of normal one month ago, the federal agency said.

In addition to the dry conditions, spring temperatures are higher than normal, so the snowpack is disappearing earlier than usual, according to the conservation service…

The snowpack disappeared rapidly throughout the Roaring Fork River basin after a series of storms dumped about six feet of snowfall on slopes in two weeks during late February and early March. The snowpack in the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River is 89 percent of average. In the Fryingpan Valley, the snowpack completely melted at Nast Lake, which is at 8,700 feet in elevation, according to the conservation service. The snowpack is still at 93 percent at Ivanhoe Reservoir, which is at 10,400 feet in elevation.

The snowpack is only 64 percent of normal at Schofield Pass at the headwaters of the Crystal River. It’s at 44 percent at the North Lost Trail snowpack measurement site near Marble.

March came in like a lion but ended like a lamb for Aspen Skiing Co. ski areas. Snowmass received 54 inches of snow during the month, about 90 percent of average, according to company spokesman Jeff Hanle. Aspen Mountain received 41 inches or 77 percent. Aspen Highlands received 44 inches or 80 percent. Buttermilk collected 25 inches or 50 percent of average, Hanle said.

Leave a Reply