Snowpack/runoff news: The good and bad of our wet May — the Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Upper Colorado River Basin High/Low graph May 28, 2015 via the NRCS
Upper Colorado River Basin High/Low graph May 28, 2015 via the NRCS

From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent (Randy Essex):

Glenwood Springs, for example, went into the weekend just 0.12 inches of rain from having its wettest May on record, with 5.71 inches having been recorded through Friday.

The rain dampened bigger fire fuels and, with cool nights, protected the lower-than-normal snowpack the region had — even adding some snow at higher elevations, said Dennis Phillips, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

Data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service show that while the Upper Colorado River Basin held just 58 percent of median snowpack at the beginning of May, snow water equivalent of the snowpack by the end of the month matched last year and was well above normal…

“We are set up for a wonderful, long season” of rafting on the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers, said Ken Murphy, owner of Glenwood Canyon Adventures. “There’s nothing right now that we are concerned about,” he said, adding that the rafting season could run through September.

While the snowpack is lingering nicely, streamflows are below normal. The Colorado River at Glenwood just below the confluence with the Roaring Fork was running 8,580 cubic feet per second, lagging the normal of around 9,600 cfs. Last year, when the Glenwood Canyon bike path was damaged upstream by fast runoff of a heavy snowpack, flow peaked at 22,000 cfs.

The Roaring Fork at Glenwood was running at 1,860 cfs; normal would be closer to 3,100 cfs. The Crystal River flow was about half of normal, at 568 cfs Friday at Redstone.

“Within the last week, stream flows increased at all locations throughout the Roaring Fork watershed, and Ruedi Reservoir is currently 81 percent full,” according to the Roaring Fork Conservancy’s Snowpack and Streamflow report sent out Thursday.

Colorado Drought Monitor May 26, 2015
Colorado Drought Monitor May 26, 2015

From KRDO (Carl Winder):

Southern Colorado has been pounded by severe weather in May, but the rain has brought more than just damage and headaches.

The National Weather Service says most of southeastern Colorado is drought-free. That’s compared to this time last year when the area was either in extreme or exceptional drought.

The NWS said southeastern Colorado is benefiting from the record rainfall in southern Colorado, along with rivers being full…

The NWS said this May is the sixth wettest month for Pueblo since the NWS started keeping record of it in 1888. As for Colorado Springs, May was the wettest month ever for the city.

From the Fort Collins Coloradan (Katie de la Rosa):

Fort Collins received nearly three times the average amount of rain last month, making it the fifth-rainiest May in recorded history.

Last month ended with a total of 6.21 inches over 22 days of rain, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder. There was no measureable precipitation only three days in the month. The average rainfall for May is 2.74 inches. Last year, Fort Collins received 4.76 inches or rain in May.

The record for May is 7.77 inches, which fell in 1901 and 1995.

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