Snowpack at 61% for Upper Colorado River |

Snowpack at 61% for Upper Colorado River

Tonya Bina
Grand County, CO Colorado

In spite of December’s badly needed snowfalls, the Upper Colorado River area is still sitting below average for snowpack this time of year.

At 61 percent, the basin got off to a slow start in terms of snowpack and subsequent reservoir volumes, according to information provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

As of Jan. 1, Colorado’s statewide snowpack was at 70 percent of average.

The winter season thus far has been dominated by high pressure weather systems and a jet stream that has not cooperated.

“While it is still early in the season and anything can happen, water users should pay close attention to this winter’s weather patterns as well as the state’s snowpack and plan accordingly,” wrote Assistant Snow Survey Supervisor Maggie Hultstrand of SNOTEL, in a Water Supply Outlook report.

Due to the dry start to the water year, water supplies are expected to be below normal across the state this spring and summer, she forecasted.

Overall, the Colorado River basin shows 69 percent of average for snowpack.

Total snow accumulation ranges from 82 percent of average in the Yampa and White River basins to 61 percent of average in the Arkansas basin.

In general, the Colorado River basin has a slightly better snowpack than last year at this time, while the southern basins in the state are receiving less snow this year compared with last year.

Above average snowfalls have to materialize in the next few months in order to reach average conditions, Hulstrand said.

“We’re still doing the snow dance,” she said. “It’s early in the season, anything is possible.”

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