NRCS: Substantial January Precipitation Boosts #Colorado’s #Snowpack

Here’s the release from the NRCS (Brian Domonkos):

Calendar year 2017 started out with more than twice the normal amount of January precipitation falling across the mountains of Colorado, at 217 percent of average statewide. This month of substantial precipitation was also reflected in the snowpack, which rose from 114 percent of normal on January 1st to 157 percent on February 1st. Nine Colorado SNOTEL sites were holding their maximum snow water equivalent (SWE) on record for February 1st and 10 more had their second highest. As of February 5th, mountain snowpack was already 93 percent of its normal seasonal peak which generally occurs in early April. “While there is still a lot of winter left, this substantial January precipitation has put the Colorado snowpack at well above normal levels and well within reach of achieving at least normal peak values, even if below normal precipitation occurs over the coming months” noted Brian Domonkos, Snow Survey Supervisor for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

statewidebasinhilo02052017nrcs

Streamflow forecasts across the state also reflect these well above average snowpack conditions, with all forecast points in the state predicting near to well above normal seasonal streamflow volumes. Values range from a low of about 100-110 percent of average for several points in the South Platte basin to as high as 175-185 percent of normal for some streams in the Upper Rio Grande basin. Across the rest of Colorado forecasts generally range between 110-150 percent of their average seasonal volumes. Reservoir storage across the state has remained relatively constant across the state throughout this water year to date. Statewide, reservoir storage is 106 percent of average with storage in all basins ranging between 89 and 121 percent of average, with the Rio Grande continuing to be the only basin in the state with notably below average storage.

Providing an overview of Colorado’s current water supply situation Domonkos went on to say, “Given current snowpack, water year precipitation, and reservoir storage conditions Colorado is well positioned to have above average water supply available this summer season.” Expanding further, Domonkos also notes “However, it must be kept in mind that a lot can change over the coming months, and while a large snowpack can be good for water availability it can also increase the possibility of flooding.”

snowpackreservoir022017nrcs

For more detailed and the most up to date information about Colorado snowpack and supporting water supply related information, refer to the Colorado Snow Survey website at:

http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/co/snow/

Or contact Brian Domonkos, Colorado Snow Survey Supervisor at Brian.Domonkos@co.usda.gov or 720-544-2852.

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