Snowpack news: Upper Colorado Basin = 73% of avg, Statewide = 76% #codrought

snowpackcolorado02272013

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Click on the thumbnail graphics for yesterday’s statewide snowpack map and Upper Colorado River Basin graph from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

From KOAA.com (Bill Folsom):

“We’ve improved our snowpack, but we’re still in a lower snowpack year,” said Dan Olson with Natural Resources Conservation Service in Teller County. Over the past couple of days crews with Natural Resources have been in Colorado’s high country for their monthly snowpack measurements. It is runoff from snowpack that determines how much water there will be to fill reservoirs that hold Colorado’s water supply.

They take samples of snow and determine the water equivalent. With our ongoing drought situation this year’s measurements have added importance. The snowpack for the state is at 75% of normal. At close to 65% of normal it is even lower in southeast Colorado. “We’re going to need a really big March to catch up to our average,” said Olson.

From KOAA.com (David Ortiviz):

Farmers along the Arkansas Valley are facing a dire outlook this summer, following news of a huge water shortage this year. One farmer estimates the industry stands to lose at least $80 million and all of this will have a trickle down affect on you the consumer…

This all impacts about 100,000 acres of crops in Southern Colorado. According to [Shane] Milberger and a board member with the association, that’s an $80 million hit to their industry. “The end result is to the consumers, which is we don’t have a commodity to sell,” said Milberger. Meaning the next time you head to the market there will be less produce and potentially higher prices.

From The Aspen Times (Scott Condon):

Snowmass has been the big powder winner this month with 58 inches through Tuesday morning, or 111 percent of average, according to Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle. He noted there is a “big disparity” in snowfall amounts this month at the company’s four ski areas. Aspen Mountain had received 49 inches of snow as of Tuesday and was at 98 percent of average. However, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk were well below their averages. Highlands has picked up 30 inches of snow, or 65 percent of average, while Buttermilk scooped up 30 inches, or 67 percent of average…

Sustained snow improved portions of the snowpack over the sprawling Roaring Fork River watershed — which includes the Crystal and Fryingpan river basins — but that also is seeing a wide disparity. The Independence Pass automated Snotel site east of Aspen was showing a snowpack just 56 percent of average Tuesday, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

In the Fryingpan Valley, the snowpack has bounced back nicely in the higher elevations but is still meager on lower slopes. The snowpack is 96 percent of average at the Ivanhoe site at 10,400 feet, the conservation service said. The snowpack is only 62 percent at Kiln, 9,600 feet, and 52 percent at Nast Lake at 8,700 feet, the agency reported.

While spotty, snowpack at three sites in the Crystal River drainage are averaging the highest. McClure Pass is at 87 percent of average, according to the conservation service. North Lost Trail outside of Marble is at 92 percent of average while Schofield Pass is at only 72 percent of average.

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