Statewide snowpack at 68 percent |

Statewide snowpack at 68 percent

Aspen Times Staff
Vail, CO Colorado

It falls to 39 percent in Roaring Fork basin

The snowpack is below average throughout Colorado, but it is particularly bleak on the Western Slope, the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service reported Friday.

The snowpack is only 68 percent of average statewide. In some mountain areas it is only about 40 percent of the long-term average, the agency said.

Warm weather earlier this spring gobbled the snowpack at lower elevations.

Oddly enough, the snowpack is doing better in the river basins east of the Continental Divide. Snowpack percentages either remained near the level recorded in March or increased slightly in the South Platte, Arkansas, and Rio Grande River basins during April. The South Platte basin has the highest snowpack in the state at 93 percent of average.

The fast-disappearing snowpack will have a impact on river runners.

“With the lack of additional spring moisture across most of the state, expectations for spring and summer runoff continue to deteriorate in many river basins,” said the press release from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Watersheds across western Colorado are expected to be the most impacted this year, with seasonal runoff volumes ranging from only 50 percent to 80 percent of average in most of these basins.”

The impact won’t be as great on irrigation. Reservoirs are capturing the early runoff. Storage volumes are 6 percent above average statewide, the NRCS reported.

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