Water year 2022 #Snowpack down after dry January — The Rio Blanco Herald-Times

Click the link to read the article on The Rio Blanco Herald-Times (Lucas Turner):

As a result of continued dry conditions year-over-year, hydrologists have noted that above-average snowpack is now necessary in order to see stream flows closer to “normal,” since increased temperatures and less moisture overall means dryer soil, which means less runoff making its way into the surface water. “Dry soil conditions going into winter can reduce the observed streamflow relative to what the observed peak snowpack ends up being,” said NRCS Hydrologist Karl Wetlaufer.

Though December’s “exceptional precipitation” may have offered a glimpse into a pre-megadrought water year, dry conditions in January brought snowpack and water supply projections back to normal for most of the state. NRCS February 1 report notes “A ridge of high pressure in January left much of Colorado drier than normal for the month.” The Colorado Headwaters and combined Yampa-White-Little Snake river basins received 76 and 72% of normal precipitation, respectively. Some of the effects of these facts are:

• snowpack dropped from 126% to 105% of median

• water year-to-date precipitation dropped from 120% to 106% of median

• streamflow forecasts dropped from 115% to 93% of median

Colorado snowpack basin-filled map February 19, 2022 via the NRCS.
Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map February 20, 2022 via the NRCS.

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