From The Pueblo Chieftain (Jon Pompia):
Information provided by the Department of Agriculture indicates that as of Jan. 5, the statewide snow water equivalent was 54 percent of normal — “the second lowest on record.”
Across Colorado, the snowpack levels range from a low of 23 percent of normal in the combined San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan basins, to a high of 87 percent of normal in the North and South Platte basins.
Snowpack in the Arkansas Basin, which encompasses Pueblo and Southern Colorado, was only 48 percent of normal, with big differences between the northern (81 percent of normal) and southern portions (an average of 17 percent) of the basin.
In the nearby Rio Grande Basin, January snowpack was only 29 percent of normal.
While 2017 was classified a “big year in terms of precipitation around here, well above normal across most of the area” by local National Weather Service meteorologist Tony Anderson, the last three months of the year were extremely dry…
Chris Woodka, issues management program coordinator with the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, agreed that it’s too early to start worrying.
“So far, this year is shaping up like some of the drier years we’ve seen, but it’s still pretty early in the snow season,” Woodka said. “The heaviest snows typically come in March and April.
“We have not made any estimates of how much water will be imported through the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project this year. Like everyone else, we’ll be watching the snowpack carefully as we head into 2018.”
On a positive note, all major river basins in the state are currently holding above average reservoir storage.
Less encouraging is the fact that all streamflow forecasts in the state are far below average spring and summer volumes.