#Snowpack news:

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

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dan West):

Snow Survey Supervisor Brian Domonkos said the Colorado snowpack is at 101% compared to normal levels this week.

The Upper Colorado Headwaters, which include the northern portion of Grand Mesa, as well as Garfield, Eagle and Summit counties, is at 107% of normal.

However, southern Colorado is slightly below normal with the Gunnison snowpack at 90%.

“On Grand Mesa, the snowpack is a little bit on the lower side compared to say the rest of the Upper Colorado,” Domonkos said. “Mesa Lakes is at 62% of normal, Park Reservoir is 77% of normal and Overland Reservoir is 82% of normal.”


This spring, Domonkos said it predicts the Colorado River at Cameo will be at 102% of the median from April 1 through July 31…

However, surface streams near Cedaredge are predicted to be at 70% and the Gunnison River near Grand Junction will be at 79% of its average flow from April 1 through July 31.

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

From Steamboat Today (Derek Maiolo):

Average snowpack for the Yampa River hit its peak around April 4 at 25 inches of snow water equivalent, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Since then, snow has been slowly melting, with average snowpack falling to about 23 inches of snow water equivalent on Saturday. But with heavy snowfall this week — forecasters predict up to 18 inches of accumulation by Friday — snowpack has once again been on the rise.

As of Thursday, average snowpack rose again to 24.3 inches of snow water equivalent, according to the data.

These fluctuations point to the difficulty in determining exactly when snowpack has reached its peak in the Yampa Valley, according to Andy Rossi, district engineer with the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District. It is not unusual for heavy snowfall to continue well into spring. The area’s contrast of low- and high-elevation terrain also makes it hard to get consistent measurements for the entire Yampa River basin…

The Conservation Service has nine measurement sites for the local basin. While sites at lower elevations are showing degrees of melting, sites at higher elevations, where melting occurs later in the year — particularly in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area and on the top of Buffalo Pass — show the snowpack continuing to climb.

Those higher-elevation measurement sites likely will not reach peak snowpack for another month, predicts Brian Domonkos, Colorado’s snow survey supervisor with the Conservation Service…

The recent bout of cold weather has stagnated the melting process, which consequently has reduced river flows. Since Tuesday, the Yampa River has been flowing at just above 500 cubic feet per second, according to the U.S. Geological Survey stream gauge at Fifth Street in downtown Steamboat Springs. This marks a decline from Sunday, during the period of warmer weather, when the river was flowing about 900 cfs.

For reference, at 2,400 cfs, portions of the Yampa River Core Trail flood and, at 3,600 cfs, portions of the baseball fields at Emerald Park flood, according to the National Weather Service.

Overall, the Yampa and White rivers have received above-average snowpack this winter, according to the Conservation Service, 110% of the median as of Thursday. That has eliminated drought conditions in Routt County, based on the U.S. Drought Monitor, a positive signal for a reduced risk of wildfires this summer.

Meanwhile, the southern parts of the state are recording moderate to severe drought conditions.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Jon Pompia):

Since July, Rodriguez said Pueblo has received 35.4 inches of moisture, with the normal value being 29.5 inches…

As for mountain snowpack, it’s about 90% average for the Arkansas River basin, said Chris Woodka, senior policy and issues manager for the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District.

“We are doing better (115%) in the headwaters of the Arkansas River, and at higher elevations above 11,000 feet,” Woodka explained. “In the Colorado River basin, which provides imports to Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Pueblo West and the Southeastern District, snowpack is just about average, but a little above average (120%) in the Roaring Fork basin, which supplies the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project.

“We are anticipating better-than-average imports, provided that conditions remain near normal.”

After a good start in December followed by a lackluster January, Woodka said, “overall, I would characterize the snow accumulation as steady throughout February and March.

“Snowpack has been declining in April because of warmer temperatures. The most recent snow may provide a slight bump, but is not a game-changer.”

Water storage is higher than normal, Woodka said, and plans call for “bringing over a little more water from the Western Slope, if conditions remain favorable.”

From The Pagosa Sun (Chris Mannara):

[San Juan River] Snow water equivalency (SWE) data has seen a decrease since last week as totals fell from 25.9 inches to 23.9 inches. The SWE median has slightly increased, however, going from 32.2 inches to 32.3 inches.

This week, SWE data is 74 percent of median. Last week, it was 80.4 percent of median.

Precipitation data remains unchanged since last week, remaining at 26.5 inches. The precipitation median has increased, however, from 34 inches to 35.7 inches.

This week, precipitation data is 79.9 percent of median. Last week, it was 74.2 percent of median.

And, here’s the Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map for April 19, 2020 via the NRCS.

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map April 18, 2020 via the NRCS.

Leave a Reply