Snowpack- Near Record Levels

Snowpack- Near Record Levels

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Helping People Help the Land An Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer Long time snow surveyor Mark Volt with the NRCS measures near record snowpack near Elk Mountain. Snow courses are read at the end of each month between January and May.
Helping People Help the Land
An Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer
Long time snow surveyor Mark Volt with the NRCS measures near record snowpack near Elk Mountain. Snow courses are read at the end of each month between January and May.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Kremmling Field Office snow surveyors Mark Volt and Vance Fulton took the February 1 snow survey measurements during the last days of January.

Snowpack in the high-elevation Mountains above Middle Park is at 161 % of the 30-year average. (1980-2010). Last year’s snowpack at this time was at 112% of average. It is still early in the winter and snowpack could change significantly by May…But were are off to a darn good start. The snowpack at the Granby snow course located near C lazy U ranch set a new all-time record high.

Snow density is averaging 30%, which means that for a foot of snow there are 3.6 inches of water. That’s pretty dense for early in the winter. .

Reported readings for the major river basins in Colorado are also doing well.: The upper Colorado River Basin averages 151%; Gunnison River Basin, 166%; South Platte River Basin, 140%; Yampa and White River Basins, 129%; Arkansas River Basin, 162%; Upper Rio Grande Basin, 151%; San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan River Basins 169%; and the Laramie and North Platte River Basins 131% 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 1st. 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.

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