Middle Park snowpack and spring runoff well above long-term average
Melting of the snowpacks in the Upper Colorado River Basin was delayed slightly by a few small storms during the first two weeks in May, but the melt began in earnest around mid-month and, except for a few days around May 23, continued through the rest of the month.
By the end of the month, based on SNOTEL data, only 34 percent of this year’s peak snow water content remained. Almost half of the peak snow water content was lost during May.
However, at 146 percent of average, June 1 snowpacks remain well above normal and significantly (over four times) higher than the snowpacks reported last year at this time.
All the sub-basins report well above average snowpacks, ranging from 375 percent of average in the Willow Creek Watershed to 131 percent of average in the mainstem Upper Colorado Watershed (above Dotsero).
May precipitation at the higher elevations of the basin was above average for the sixth consecutive month. In fact, November remains the only month of below average precipitation reported this water year. As you would expect, total precipitation for the water year is above average.
Although slightly below the totals reported last year at this time, reservoir storage in the basin is 99 percent of average. Runoff forecasts were increased from last month at most points in the basin. June-July volumes are still expected to be above to well above average at almost all the forecast points.
Streamflows for the next two months should range from 94 percent of average for the inflow to Lake Granby to 155 percent of average for the Roaring Fork at Glenwood Springs.
Statewide, average snowpack is 111 percent, with the highest snowpack in the Gunnison and Colorado River basins. Reported readings for the major river basins in Colorado are as follows:
– Upper Colorado River Basin averages 146 percent
– Gunnison River Basin, 145 percent
– South Platte River Basin, 119 percent
– Yampa and White River Basins, 85 percent
– Arkansas River Basin, 130 percent
– Upper Rio Grande Basin, 86 percent
– San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan River Basins 95 percent
– Laramie and North Platte River Basins, 122 percent of average for this time of year.
For further information, visit http://www.co.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/index.html.
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