Happy Pi Day

A Pi Day pie from Reilly’s Bakery in Biddeford at Biddeford High School in Biddeford, ME on Friday, March 13, 2015. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Recent storms helping #Colorado #snowpack (March 14, 2022) — KOAA

Click the link to read the article on the KOAA website (Bill Folsom). Here’s an excerpt:

The current string of storms bringing snow to Colorado is a boost to snowpack. “Typically, March and April are the wettest months,” said Jennifer Kemp with Colorado Springs Utilities. It is important for the state’s water supply.

Reservoir levels are currently where they need to be for this time of year with more than a two-year supply. Snowpack depends on the river basin. Levels vary from 85 up to 95 percent of average…

there is more to the water supply equation. You must consider the extended drought trend in the west. On the U.S. drought map most of southern Colorado is in severe drought. Dry conditions can suck up water in the snowpack. “For example, how thirsty are the soils? So that when we get that run-off, will much be absorbed into the ground or actually come down into our streams and rivers,” said Kemp.

#ArkansasRiver Basin reaches 112% of median precipitation — The Mountain Mail #snowpack

Click the link to read the article on the Mountain Mail website (D.J. DeJong). Here’s an excerpt:

Colorado river basins remain near normal in precipitation for the water year to date despite below-normal precipitation in January and February, according to the National Resources Conservation Service. Southern Colorado basins fared better than other parts of Colorado. The Arkansas River Basin received 112 percent of median precipitation in February…

Snowpack for the Arkansas River Basin stood at 90 percent of median as of March 1. Current statewide streamflow projections are 88 percent of normal…

The current projection for the Arkansas Basin is 81 percent of median streamflow.

Statewide reservoir storage has remained below average this water year. The Arkansas Basin stands at 89 percent of median storage as of March 1. The NRSC states more precipitation is needed through the remainder of winter to increase reservoir storage in addition to improving drought conditions in the state…

Colorado Drought Monitor map March 8, 2022.

As of Thursday, the National Drought Mitigation Center at University of Nebraska Lincoln, reports Chaffee County remains in moderate drought conditions in the western part of the county with severe drought conditions in the eastern half.

#Loveland looks at work to prepare #BigThompsonRiver to withstand future floods; More than $52 million in needs outlined — The Loveland Reporter-Herald #SouthPlatteRiver

Big Thompson Canyon before and after September 2013 flooding. Photo credit: Flywater.com

Click the link to read the article on the Loveland Reporter-Herald website (Jackie Hutchins). Here’s an excerpt:

After the 2013 flood did massive damage in Loveland, the city led efforts to do repairs to public infrastructure, spending $37 million over the next six years. But city staff members, briefing the Loveland City Council on Tuesday on the Big Thompson River Financial Plan, said there’s much more that needs to be done to make the city resilient when future floods occur…Stormwater engineer Kevin Gingery said records of flooding on the Big Thompson River go back to 1906, and show historically the river has flooded on average every eight years — 12 damaging floods in a century…Since 1987, the river has flooded twice, in 1999 and the massive flood in 2013. Both of those floods and one in 1951 are considered of a 100-year magnitude or greater, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Study…

The new mapping effects future development of the 402 corridor, all bridge crossings of the river, and implementation of the Big Thompson River Corridor Master Plan, city officials said…Many of the bridges on the river are undersized, and sometimes silt builds up under them. The plan calls for removing the excess silt so more water can pass under the bridges.

Other problems include large trees that block river flow, and logs that fall into the river can create a safety hazard for river users.

Carlson pointed to the bridge on South Lincoln Avenue. Crews repaired damage there from the 2013 flood, but the bridge needs to be substantially bigger to withstand future floods, he said. Before the flood, the highest discharge recorded there was 19,000 cubic feet per second; the new 100-year discharge level is 20,429 cfs, so city staff wants to build a larger bridge that can handle a greater flow. Work also is needed in Fairgrounds Park and Barnes Park to better channel flood waters under the bridge, something that could help property owners in the floodplain in that area, Carlson said.

Opinion: Will a summer of wildfires become the new normal for #Colorado? — The #Pueblo Chieftain #wildfire #aridification #ActOnClimate

Marshall Fire December 30, 2021. Photo credit: Boulder County

Click the link to read the article on the Pueblo Chieftain website (Sophie Potts). Here’s an excerpt:

Over the past decade, the number of wildfires Colorado has experienced fluctuates, but the amount of damage each one does is steadily increasing. Until 2002, Colorado had never seen a wildfire burn over 100,000 acres, in 2020 we saw our first 200,000 acre fire. On the eve of 2022, we saw the most destructive forest fire in Colorado history destroy nearly 1,000 homes in the Boulder area. It is no coincidence that these numbers are becoming more and more terrifying. And, as so many dire issues do, the whole thing boils down to climate change. As global temperatures rise and climate patterns change, drier summers and warmer temperatures provide the ideal conditions for destructive and powerful wildfires…

We call this phenomenon global warming. But that label is an oversimplification. Climate change can also manifest as new weather patterns or even a dip in temperature. While the issue of global warming has been highly politicized in the American media, its effects are unequivocal and universal. While the most obvious negative impact of wildfires is the physical devastation they wreak on both the natural and man-made landscape, there are more subtle long term effects of wildfires that must also be acknowledged…

Ash and silt pollute the Cache la Poudre River after the High Park Fire September 2012

Wildfires have been found to contribute to the contamination of our water supply. When large rain storms follow a wildfire event, as is common in Colorado, the rainfall funnels particulate matter high in nitrate and manganese into the water supply, making it dangerous for human consumption and aquatic life…

I want to end on a positive note, to leave you with a glimmer of hope or a light at the end of the tunnel. But I can’t do that. Humanity is not taking enough action against the climate crisis. Instead we waste our time squabbling about a multitude of details about how to reduce carbon emissions, who pays for it, objections from those benefiting financially, and on and on. I worry that there will come a day when we look up and realize that everything that makes our planet the beautiful and unique place it is has been destroyed and we have little left to protect or argue about. It is our own inaction that is obscuring hope. So the light at the end of the tunnel is not mine to offer, but rather yours to create.