#Snowpack news: San Juans still on top = 172% of normal

Click on the thumbnail graphic below to view a gallery of snowpack data from the NRCS.

From The Fort Morgan Times (Jenni Grubbs):

In spite of a couple recent snowfalls, Morgan County has had a pretty dry couple of months.

From Thanksgiving Day until Tuesday, the county saw total precipitation of between 1 inch and 2.5 inches, according to data reported by the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS). And there were some lengthy stretches of no rain, sleet or snow falling…

But while precipitation may be lagging in Morgan County, it has been coming down heavily in the mountains in recent weeks, according to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

As of Tuesday, the South Platte Basin was at 156 percent of snow water equivalent, the latest SNOTEL report showed. Since the 1980s, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has used snowpack telemetry to track the snowpack levels and then offers SNOTEL reports to the public, which then can be used forecast the water supplies that will be available through spring snowmelt.

One of the users of that data is Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (Northern Water), which operates the Colorado-Big Thompson (C-BT)pipeline that brings water from the mountains to Fort Morgan.

Northern Water’s C-BT project involves 12 reservoirs, 35 miles of tunnels and 95 miles of canals on both sides of the Continental Divide in Northern Colorado, according to http://www.northernwater.org/.

Eventually, some of that snow up in the mountains makes its way to Fort Morgan through the pipeline, so snowpack well above 150 percent in January is a good sign for the city and all C-BT participants to have enough water this spring and summer.

“Late spring and early summer snowmelt and runoff from the Rocky Mountains provides most of Colorado’s water supply,” Northern Water’s website states. “Greater snowpack means favorable water supplies; lower amounts can signal an impending drought.”

From The Albuquerque Journal (Olivier Uyttebrouck):

High water content in the snowpack in New Mexico and Colorado bodes well for the spring runoff later this year.

“The snowpack is doing well,” National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Guyer said Monday. “So we’re going to have some runoff, finally.”

A good snowpack is welcome news, because New Mexico hasn’t had a good runoff since 2010. Last year was among the warmest on record, and a dry, windy spring robbed the state of much of its snowpack…

High-elevation areas of northern and central New Mexico have normal or above-normal snowpack, but the southern mountains are lagging, Guyer said.

Snowpack in the San Juan Basin around Chama is 177 percent of normal, packing 15 inches of liquid water, he said.

screen-shot-2017-01-18-at-5-35-15-am

And here’s the Westwide basin-filled map for January 17, 2017 from the NRCS.

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map January 17, 2017 via the NRCS.
Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map January 17, 2017 via the NRCS.

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