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March News Release

NRCS Colorado Snow Survey and Water Supply News Release

For Immediate Release   Contact: Mage Hultstrand
Assistant Snow Survey Supervisor
Office Number: 720-544-2855
Fax Number: 720-544-2963
E-Mail: mage.hultstrand@co.usda.gov

 

FEBRUARY STORMS BOOST COLORADO’S SNOWPACK

 

March 6, 2014

Denver, CO - March 6, 2014 – Statewide snowpack totals increased considerably during February. As a whole, Colorado received above normal snow accumulation throughout the past month as multiple storm systems moved through the state. As of March 1, the state’s snowpack was 116 percent of median and statewide precipitation total’s for February reached 133 percent of average, according to Phyllis Ann Philipps, Colorado State Conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Colorado's snowpack has tracked above the long-term normal for three consecutive months.

Once again this year’s “No-Nino” weather patterns favored the northern and central mountain ranges in Colorado. The southwest part of the state, the Upper Rio Grande and the combined San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan basins, are still experiencing below normal snow conditions for this time of year. The combined San Juan basins did see a 3 percentage point increase from last month and are currently at 85 percent of median. The Upper Rio Grande basin on the other hand lost five percentage points, dropping to just 79 percent of median.

Reservoir storage across the state remains just below average, at 89 percent of average; this is a great improvement over last year’s conditions at this time when storage was just 67 percent of average. With the current snowpack conditions and storage volumes drought conditions in most basins should be alleviated and reservoir storage should improve this spring.

Data collected during the recent snow surveys directly reflects what the state can expect for surface water supplies this coming spring and summer. The most recent streamflow forecasts continue to point towards, above to well above normal volumes for this spring and summer in most of the major river basins in Colorado; the exceptions will be the Upper Rio Grande and southwest basins.


The table below shows Colorado’s snowpack and reservoir storage as of March 1, 2014.
 

Basin

Snowpack
% of Median

Snowpack
% of Last Year

Reservoir Storage
% of Average

Last Year's

Reservoir Storage
% of Average

Gunnison 114 157 90 66
Colorado 130 185 97 65
South Platte 151 232 112 87
North Platte 137 180 --- ---
Yampa/White 121 160 111 98
Arkansas 109 162 60 50
Rio Grande 79 105 68 52
San Miguel, Dolores, Animas & San Juan 85 103 71 66
Statewide 116 161 89 67

For additional information about Colorado’s water supply conditions, please visit:

http://www.co.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/