#Snowpack news: Statewide snowpack now below average, sorry SW basins

Statewide Basin High/Low graph January 3, 2019 via the NRCS.

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

Snowpack was at 94 percent of median statewide Thursday, according to a daily map on the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Colorado Snow Survey Program website. That compares to 117 percent about a month ago.

Snowpack in the Arkansas and South Platte river basins is more than 110 percent of median, while levels in the Colorado and Yampa/White basins are at 102 percent. But the Gunnison River Basin is at 90 percent, the Upper Rio Grande, 76 percent, and the San Miguel/Dolores/Animas/San Juan basins in the Four Corners region are at just 69 percent.

“Really again the one sore spot is the San Juan Mountains,” which also fared worse than the rest of Colorado last year, said Becky Bolinger, the assistant state climatologist…

Following a poor snowpack season a year ago and limited summer rain, western Colorado remains in drought, with the worst conditions in the southwest part of the state. Bolinger said that even if the rest of the state has good snowpack that translates to good runoff and improved reservoir levels, it still will feel the impact if southwest Colorado’s snow levels are poor, due to the state’s interstate obligations for making sure enough Colorado River water leaves the state…

The San Juan Mountains did benefit more than the rest of the state from two recent storms, Fowler said. Bolinger said that region needs storms every week to start making real improvements…

Bolinger said that cold temperatures also have helped out so far this year when compared to last year, when warm spells made it hard for lower and middle elevations to keep their snowpack, affecting spring runoff.

The federal Climate Prediction Center has forecast above-average chances for higher-than-normal temperatures and precipitation levels in Colorado through March.

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map January 2, 2019 via the NRCS.

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