Grand County snowpack right at average
Reported readings for the major river basins in Colorado are as follows:
Upper Colorado River Basin: 95 percent
Gunnison River Basin: 80 percent
South Platte River Basin: 97 percent
Yampa and White River Basins: 81 percent
Arkansas River Basin:100 percent
Upper Rio Grande Basin: 67 percent
San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan River Basins: 66 percent
Laramie and North Platte River Basins: 82 percent
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Kremmling Field Office snow surveyors Mark Volt and Noah Bates took the Feb. 1 snow survey measurements during the last days of January and found snowpack in the high-elevation mountains above Middle Park is now around 100 percent of the 30-year average (1980-2010).
Last year’s snowpack at this time was 120 percent of average.
Snow density is averaging 24 percent, which means that for a foot of snow there are 2.9 inches of water. In far western Grand County, the lower depths of the snowpack are very granular with an ice layer at around 10 inches above the ground, which is responsible for the weak snow stability.
Most of the snow courses around Middle Park have been read since the 1940s. Snow course readings are taken at the end of each month, beginning in January and continuing through April. March is historically the snowiest month, and the April 1 readings are the most critical for predicting runoff and summer water supplies, as most of our high country snowpack peaks around that time.
For further information, including real-time snow and precipitation data for SNOTEL (Automated Snow Telemetry) sites, visit http://www.co.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/index.html.
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