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Colorado snowpack levels promise sufficient water for state

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Posted at 5:45 PM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 19:45:27-04

DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s mountain snow measured slightly higher than normal for this time of year, boosting confidence that water for crops, cattle and residents will be adequate.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Colorado Snow Survey data showed the statewide snowpack at 106% of the norm between 1981 and 2010, The Denver Post reports.

There is a significant variation between snow levels in the state’s northern and southern mountains, which has been a trend over the past decade.

Forecasters anticipated that dry soil from last year’s warm, arid fall likely will reduce water in streams and rivers once snow melts.

Snowpack in Colorado’s high mountains serves as a natural reservoir, holding water until spring when rising temperatures melt snow and send water into streams and rivers.

The survey found Southwestern Colorado faced drier conditions with snowpack between 86% and 94% of the norm.

Snowpack was calculated at 124% of the norm in the South Platte River Basin, 114% in the Upper Colorado River Basin and 109% in the Arkansas River Basin, the main water sources for Denver, Colorado Springs and northern Front Range cities.

Snow survey supervisor Brian Domonkos said Colorado was in “a good spot” overall, assuming there is more precipitation in the right places over the next few weeks.

“In the southwestern corner of the state, we need more snow, above-average snow accumulation,” Domonkos said. “In the northern part of the state, we’re above normal. We don’t need more. A little more would be good for the spring and summer runoff.”