Rockies #snowpack good, but dryness could threaten #ColoradoRiver flow — The Las Vegas Review-Journal #COriver #aridification #runoff

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map February 10, 2020 via the NRCS.

From The Las Vegas Review-Journal (Blake Apgar):

The snowpack in the Rocky Mountains is currently 14 percent above average for this time of year, but last year’s dry summer could reduce runoff to the Colorado River.

Warren Turkett, a natural resource analyst for the Colorado River Commission of Nevada, told commissioners Tuesday that a warm summer and lack of precipitation in the upper Colorado River Basin last year left soil drier than normal, which is expected to cut the amount of water flowing into Lake Powell to 20 percent below average based on current projections…

He told the Review-Journal that rapidly warming temperatures early in the season could cause rapid early runoff, resulting in declines beyond the current forecast.

From the Vail Daily (Randy Wyrick):

Last weekend’s massive storms bounced the region’s snowpack to 125% of normal, according to the experts who keep track of snow totals.

“The last five days have been great for snowpack accumulation,” said Brian Domonkos, the supervisor of the Colorado Snow Survey Program, which is part of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Domonkos scanned 50 sites around Colorado, quickly crunched some numbers and found that the weekend storms boosted the statewide snowpack to 117%, and 125% in the Upper Colorado River Basin.

Over the last five days, snow water equivalent in the Upper Colorado River Basin that includes Eagle County is up 15%. The South Platte basin is up 14%. The snow water equivalent is the amount of water the snow contains…

On Saturday the Vail SNOTEL site recorded 1.7 inches of snow water equivalent since the day before, only the third time in the 42-year site record that has happened, Diane Johnson with the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District said.

The 3.2 inches of SWE received in four days from Thursday to Monday represents 22% of this year’s snow water equivalent, 134 days in the water year, Oct. 1 to Tuesday.

“Hooray for now. Vail is now at 125% of normal, but as we always say – there’s a lot of winter ahead of us and we’ll see what happens,” Johnson said.

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