Here’s the release from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (Brian Domonkos):
After lackluster February precipitation, the month of March provided near normal increases for the state as a whole, with year-to-date precipitation on April 1st at 98 percent of normal. March weather patterns in Colorado favored the northern half of the state, but provided little accumulation in the southern half. Upon closer analysis of the underlying data, the map below shows that snowpack is near to slightly above normal in the Colorado, Yampa, White, North and South Platte River basins. However, in much of the Gunnison, Arkansas, Rio Grande and San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan basins snowpack received minor accumulations and even experienced snowmelt at lower elevations, leading to below normal snowpack conditions in those southern basins.
“Snowpack improved markedly in the North Platte, Willow Creek (Colorado River) and Cache La Poudre River basins with increases of 17 percent or more in these watersheds. Unfortunately, some southern watersheds saw proportionate decreases in snowpack levels – the greater Arkansas, Rio Grande, San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan basins averaged nearly a 17 percent decrease in percent of median snowpack,” commented Brian Domonkos, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Colorado Snow Survey Supervisor.
Cumulative reservoir storage for Colorado has increased only minimally since last month and decreased as much as 4 percent in the Arkansas River watershed.
Domonkos went on to say, “Generally Colorado’s mountain snowpack typically peaks in the beginning of April. Without an abnormally cool or wet spring, snowpack should begin running off soon.”
Because various parts of the state are experiencing different weather patterns, streamflow predictions are ranging greatly. In general, water users and planners in southern basins should begin to expect 60 to 90 percent of normal runoff, while those in northern basins should expect 85 to 105 percent of normal runoff.
For more detailed information about individual Colorado watersheds or supporting water supply related information, have a look at the Colorado Water Supply Outlook Report or feel free to go to the Colorado Snow Survey website at:
Or contact Brian Domonkos, Colorado Snow Survey Supervisor at Brian.Domonkos@mt.usda.gov or 720-544-2852.