Climate: Storms bolster Colorado snowpack

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Colorado’s snowpack is above average as of Feb. 1.

Feb. 1 snow survey results suggest decent spring runoff for most of the state

By Summit  Voice

FRISCO — Colorado’s snowpack surged to above average in late January thanks to a strong storm that brought snow statewide, federal water experts said last week. The Feb. 1 snow survey showed the average snowpack across the Colorado mountains at 107 percent of average, and 152 percent above last year’s Feb. 1 reading.

As of Feb. 1, only the Upper Rio Grande (82 percent) and San Juan (79 percent) basins in the southern part of the state were below average, according to the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Measurements at automated SNOTEL sites showed significant increases between Jan. 27 and Feb. 1, increasing from 95 percent to 109 percent of the median.

Phyllis Ann Philipps, state conservationist with the NRCS said, “This storm system benefited the entire state, but was especially needed in the southwest basins and the Upper Rio Grande basin. These areas had received very little snow since early in December and the recent moisture was a welcome change.”

Across Colorado the February 1 snowpack’s range from 100 percent of median in the Arkansas basin to 126 percent of median in the South Platte.

Reservoir storage in Colorado has improved compared to last month. Statewide storage is currently at 90 percent of average with the South Platte and Yampa/White basins storing water at above average amounts for this time of year. Storage in the Arkansas and Upper Rio Grande basins remains well below average.

Expect the latest streamflow forecasts for the spring and summer season to improve compared to last month’s for the northern part of the state and to decline for the southwest and Upper Rio Grande.

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