Temporary budget fix ensures program through August 2014
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — For decades, hydrologists have been tromping through the high country of Colorado and around the West to make detailed snowpack measurements. Together with data from automated SNOTEL sites and other tools, the monthly snow-course readings help water managers develop accurate projections of spring stream flows, and how much water will be available for irrigation and storage.
FRISCO — Springtime in the Rockies was a tale of two states in Colorado. The snowpack rebounded in the northern mountains, which benefited from a series of wet spring storms, but the southern half of the state was dry and warm, with serious drought conditions persisting in the Rio Grande, as as the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan basins.
This year’s statewide snowpack peaked April 21, several weeks later than the average date, and cool weather helped further delay snowmelt across the higher elevations, resulting in a statewide June 1 snowpack at 92 percent of median, according to Randy Randall, acting State Conservationist with the NRCS.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado’s snowpack continues to inch upward and recently passed last year’s level, but the state’s water woes aren’t over, according to the results of the latest Natural Resources Conservation Service snow survey.
The good news is that the snowpack hasn’t quite peaked yet, according to the April 1 compilation of statistics from automated SNOTEL sites and manual survey results. The bad news is that soil moisture in many parts of the state is still at drought levels, and reservoir levels are well below average and lagging behind last year.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Snowpack in the Blue River Basin, encompassing all of Summit County’s rivers and streams, is quickly dropping down toward just half of the long-term average for early January.
According to the January 6 readings from automated SNOTEL sites around the basin, the snowpack at Copper Mountain is just 55 percent of average, with only 3.4 inches of snow-water equivalent, compared to the average 6.2 inches for this date. The Copper SNOTEL site is located at 10,550 feet.
Precipitation for the weather year-to-date (starting Oct. 1) is a little closer to average, at 68 percent, with 5.2 inches compared to the average 7.7 inches, but the gap between the precipitation total and the snowpack total reflects the warm and dry weather which has eaten away at the snowpack. Continue reading “Summit County: Snowpack drops to near half of average”→
Front Range moisture helps ease demand for West Slope water
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The lack of snowfall in the high country is starting to show in the snowpack readings across the western part of the state, where readings have fallen below 70 percent of average — about 67 percent in the Colorado River Basin, which means that the snowpack is about one-third less than the average for this time of year.
In a strange twist on the La Niña weather pattern, the Front Range snowpack is above average, which doesn’t directly help the spring runoff on which much of the state depends. But good winter moisture on the Front Range does help ease demand for stored water, at least early in the season.
Runoff in some northwestern river basins expected to be two to three times of average
By Summit Voice
Colorado’s latest snowpack data, compiled by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, shows the profound impact that a cool and wet May can have on water supplies, in terms of both timing and quantity.
The forecasted runoff throughout the Yampa, White, Colorado, North and South Platte river basins this year is well above average, and in some cases will be two to three times higher than the average for the April through July forecast period.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Saturday’s storm dropped another 13 inches of snow at A-Basin, pushing the base back up over 100 inches with a 48-hour snow total of 20 inches — and it looks like Ullr isn’t quite done with us yet.
Showery weather is forecast to persist through mid-week, with another chance for significant snow early in the coming week, through with warmer temperatures, most of the accumulations will be confined to the higher elevations.
Specifically, there’s enough moisture in the airmass over the high country to fuel convective showers and thunder storms Sunday afternoon, when the high temperature will reach about 50 degrees, 9 degrees below the average. The record high for the date is 74 degrees, set just a few years ago, in 2005. And before we feel to sorry for ourselves, consider that the record low for the date (in Frisco) is zero, set way back in 1933. Continue reading “Summit County weather: More snow possible”→