Snowpack in Middle Park and Statewide Remains Above Normal
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Kremmling Field Office snow
surveyors Mark Volt and Mike Ardison took the March 1st. snow survey measurements during
the last days of February…..And even with the recent warm weather and valley melt, the survey
shows that we are in real good shape up high. Valley snowpack has decreased significantly
during February while high elevation snowpack continued to climb.
Snowpack in the high elevation mountains above Middle Park now ranges from 110% to
206% of the 30-year average, with the overall average for Middle Park at 143%. The Granby
course again set a new record high for March 1st. Last year at this time we were at 104% of
average. Snow density is 32%, which means that for one foot of snow there is 3.8 inches of
water, which is high for March 1st.
Reported readings for the major river basins in Colorado are as follows: Colorado River
Basin 138%; Gunnison River Basin, 152%; South Platte River Basin,131%; Yampa and White
River Basins, 121%; Arkansas River Basin, 137%; Upper Rio Grande Basin, 145%; San Miguel,
Dolores, Animas, and San Juan River Basins 152%; and the Laramie and North Platte River
Basins, 152% of average for this time of year.
Most of the snow courses around Middle Park have been read since the 1940s. Snow course
readings are taken at the end of each month, beginning in January and continuing through April.
March is historically the snowiest month, and the April 1 readings are the most critical for
predicting runoff and summer water supplies, as most of our high country snowpack peaks
around that time.
For further information, including real-time snow and precipitation data for SNOTEL
(automated Snow Telemetry) sites, visit http://www.co.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/index.html.