Snowpack news


From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

Snowpack statewide measured 68 percent of normal Tuesday, up from 62 percent May 1, federal data show. Traditionally, snowpack has served as a frozen, slow-release water supply reservoir for the state.

Denver Water reservoirs overall were 93 percent full, above the normal May median 82 percent, and Northern’s dozen reservoirs overall were 92 percent full.

Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway urged accelerated efforts to complete the Northern Integrated Water Supply Project, which would install two new reservoirs, and to expand the Halligan-Seaman reservoir.

“This would be a way to capture that high runoff in May and June and store that water for farmers and growing municipalities to meet their needs — and at the same time provide a flood-control option,” Conway said.

From the Summit Daily News (Ali Langley):

April precipitation statewide underperformed, according to the monthly update released May 8 by the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

The report doesn’t include data from the latest storm, which bumped snowpack in Summit County’s Blue River Basin to above-average for this time of year and brought about 12 inches of snow to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area…

Statewide April 2015 precipitation was 71 percent of normal, while the South Platte April precipitation was 110 percent of normal.

Snowpack follows the same storyline. The South Platte snowpack was at 96 percent of normal on May 1, while statewide snowpack was 61 percent of normal.

The Rio Grande snowpack was the lowest in the state at 25 percent of normal.

From Growing Produce (Christina Herrick):

Snowpack in the West has almost all melted, according to data from the fifth 2015 forecast by USDA’s National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).

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

Snowpack at many stations in the Western U.S. are at record or near record lows, says Garen. Unseasonably warm weather accelerated melt and hindered snowpack growth.

“We still have some snowpack in Northern Colorado, Western Montana, and Southern Wyoming,” said Garen. “In addition, snowmelt from Canada will flow into the Columbia River.”[…]

It’s been a dry year for the Colorado River,” NRCS Hydrologist Cara McCarthy said. “Snowmelt inflow into the Lake Powell Reservoir is forecast at 34% of normal. We only forecast streamflow from current conditions. Spring and summer rains might relieve areas that are dry.”

The Lake Powell Reservoir supplies water to much of the Southwest, including Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; and southern Arizona.

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