#Snowpack news: SW basins = 154% of normal (best in #Colorado), Yampa/White = 122% (lowest)

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

From Las Vegas Now (Katie Boer):

Nevada is still considered to be in a drought, but the accumulation in snowpacks has experts hopeful about the health of Lake Mead. However, the state’s not out of the clear.

For years the lower Colorado River Basin has been in a drought impacting Nevada and California, but the snowfall in the Rocky Mountains this season has been significant causing much of the Great Basin to be well above average.

The snowpack in the Rockies is up 150 percent to 200 percent above normal, so that will be a direct impact on runoff that eventually feeds directly into water levels at Lake Mead.

“We were just up at Kyle Lake yesterday, and thats a long time site for us. It’s a snow course that we measured back in 1940, and the amount of water in the snowpack yesterday was within two-tenths of the record high for that time of year,” said Troy Brosten, assistant snow surveyor supervisor for the Natural Resources Conservation Service for the USDA.

According to Brosten, the heavy snowpack, once it starts to melt, will flow downstream into the upper Colorado River, eventually hitting the lower Colorado River Basin before arriving at Lake Mead.

“With the snowpack accumulation that we have, we will see improvements in the drought situations,” Brosten said.

“Right now the Colorado River, the lower parts are fairly stable, and we’re seeing the levels of Lake Mead rise just a little bit,” according to Rose Davis, Bureau of Reclamation, lower Colorado region…

“It’s looking good right now,” Davis said. “We’re looking good for an in-flow from the upper basin this year of about 9 million acre-feet. We’re getting a good snow pack. It’s not going to undo 16 years of drought, but it is going to maintain our lake levels and perhaps let them come up a little bit.”

But regardless of this year’s heavy snowpack, Davis says “it’s a very important concept for to remember that nobody’s out of drought.” “I mean regardless of what you’re seeing on the flooding in California and other places — one year doesn’t undo drought,” Davis said.

And here’s the Westwide SNOTES basin-filled map from the NRCS.

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map March 1, 2017 via the NRCS.
Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map March 1, 2017 via the NRCS.

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