Snowpack/runoff news: Our snowpack is lackluster — The Durango Herald

Statewide snowpack map May 8, 2015 via the NRCS
Statewide snowpack map May 8, 2015 via the NRCS

From The Durango Herald (Dale Rodebaugh):

In the West, the snowpack of the winter 2014-15 is history, the Natural Resources Conservation Service said Friday.

“Across most of the West, snowpack isn’t just low – it’s gone,” NRCS hydrologist David Garen said in a release. “With some exceptions, this year’s snowmelt streamflow has already occurred.”

“The exceptions are northern Colorado, western Montana and southern Wyoming,” Garen said.

Garen could have included the southwest corner of Colorado where the snowpack isn’t great, but still exists.

Noah Newman at the Colorado Climate Center said the four basins in the region still have some snow.

As of May 1:

The San Juan Basin had 5.4 inches of snowpack, compared with the 30-year median of 15.4 inches (35 percent).

The Animas Basin had 68 percent of the 30-year median – 7.4 inches compared with 11 inches.

In the San Miguel Basin, there were 4.6 inches of snow on the ground, compared with the 30-year median of 10.4 inches (44 percent).

The Dolores Basin is hurting – 0.7 inches compared with the 30-year median of 3 inches (23 percent).

It’s been a dry year for the Colorado River Basin, the NRCS statement said.

“Snowmelt inflow into Lake Powell Reservoir is estimated at 34 percent,” said hydrologist Cara McCarthy. “We forecast streamflow from current conditions. Spring and summer rain might relieve areas that are dry.”

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